Stocktaking, Patching and Head Scratching.
I never thought there would be a downside to momentum, but there is one for me. As I’ve said previously, I don’t plan, can’t plan, so each day is an application of imagination accompanied by, hopefully, a chorus of creative hallelujahs. Now, I’ve been doing well of recent, knuckling down and writing a sequel. – BUT I’ve introduced one or two continuities, and since a seat-of-the-pants writer relies on words just written, such things tend to magnify with time.
So, forty thousand words in ‘Harvester II’, I’m reading back through, ironing and refining the lumps and creases. – No doubt it’ll need doing again in another 40,000 words, and then again. – I guess without the benefit of a plan, ‘stocktaking’ could be considered setting waypoints – tethers, marking the maximum distance you need to retreat should all go awry.
As a ‘pantser’ I’ve not a pile of notes on characters in advance, and have to learn about them through their interactions with others, and reactions to situations. – Much of this will then need to be fed back through to earlier chapters, introducing mannerisms, honing dialogue and generally making the character a little more robust. – All this is done whilst generating a plot as I write. – Sometimes it can be too much to do everything at once, and so I’ll scratch out a few points, knowing they’re little more than place-markers and will be edited / expanded at a later date.
BUT, and this follows on from my last blog post, I’d struggle to maintain consistently good prose IF I didn’t have those around me who are prepared to read through, and point out any potential issues. (I’ve long since recognised I’ll never be one of those who can write in total isolation.)
I think the upshot is that life would be so much easier if I could plan, but I doubt my words would be as valuable. – I envy those with the innate ability to distil creativity into a week or two, collating all that is necessary for a complete novel.
For me, ideas just won’t resolve so quickly, so stocktaking, patching and head-scratching it is…