Thursday, February 04, 2010

Solid Progress, But Slow

I did get back to writing since my last post, and have been working hard. I carried the story forward somewhat. I'm in chapter 6, and am still editing chapters 4 and 5. I think the first 3 chapters are pretty well done until the final review and polish.

It's slow going, because I'm trying to get it right as I go. I am tempted to break into a run and just finish off the story, then go back to edit, but I'm concerned if I do that then I'll end up with a rough draft that would require so much editing that it would be a waste of time. Slow, solid progress seems to be working well for this story, as long as I keep it moving forward, even at a slow pace. I can't let it stall or spend so much time rewriting that I inhibit any additional forward momentum. The balancing act has been working well enough thus far.

It's clear I won't have the story finished in time for this year's ABNA, which is very sad, since I had really hoped to have something, but at least I hitched a ride, so to speak, and the excitement surrounding that event has spurred me on to get really serious on bringing this story to completion. I'll just keep at it. It's hovering around 20k right now, and that's about 1/3 of the story (goal: 60-65k). I know the storyline, so it's just a matter of telling it as I go, not figuring it out. I feel more solid on having a handle on this story plot-wise than any other story I've worked with in the fast few years. I'm finding it much easier to keep it focused and on track. It's just a matter of drawing out the core of each scene and making each scene shine as I go along.

The characters are intriguing to me, the situation is very exciting, and there is much for the Reader to wonder about along the way, questions that a Reader will want to know the answers to. I'm getting better at leaving things unanswered and allowing the curiosity to develop.

I'm approaching this novel as character-driven even though there is a hefty suspense plot. That is helping give it a human quality that would otherwise come up short if I focused on the external aspects. Good choice and it's clearly playing off.

I have been storing away articles and notes from the research. Rather than trying to internalize all that information I'm finding it more useful to familiarize myself with it, so I know what it is, what information exists that I can draw from, and then I can look things up as I go along and get the details. Since there is a lot of information attached to this story, I could easily go overboard with exposition, but I'm purposefully avoiding that by keeping it to an absolute minimum. Story first, information only as absolutely essential to flesh out, validate, add realism, etc. Good approach.

So, at this point I'm happy with the story -- it has every potential to be my first totally completed project, and for me to get there within the coming weeks, no more than a few months. I'll postpone my end-of-January deadline and reset it as an end-of-February deadline, for completed, edited draft, which can then be reviewed, edited a little more as needed, and finally polished within the following month. Since I'm editing substantially as I go, and I'm working hard to keep it on track, I'm hoping to avoid the need for a second complete draft.

I feel many pangs of regret that I won't have something to send in for ABNA, but I take consolation that what I am working on appears to be worthy of sending out once finished, and I have a reasonable hope that this one might actually get to that point. That's something to be happy about!

Best wishes for completing your own work in a timely manner,



KHurley said...

Donald Maass once told me that "It's better to get it right than to get it fast." I think he's right. The fact that you love the story and are enjoying it is what matters most. That will carry through into the writing, and the ideal future submission venues will be there when you need them.

Have a wonderful February, and best wishes for you and your WIP!

BTW, there's a smidgen of good news on my blog, which I hope will be an encouragement to others.

Adrian Swift said...


thank you so much for stopping by and offering encouragement!

I visited your blog earlier but Blogger seems to be acting up again and it wouldn't let me leave a comment. I wanted to say CONGRATULATIONS for your wonderful news!

I'll try again until I can leave feedback on your site. I'm really happy for you, and thanks again for the well wishes. I think we can all use positive words of encouragement along the way, and I certainly do appreciate them. I usually do race ahead, but I see what you are saying that a moderate pace is really helpful for getting it right.

Good luck with your current endeavors!


Debra Young said...

I agree with KHurley and Donald Maass, and that's the way I work, as you know. Endless rewriting drives me crazy so I'd rather get it right or as close to right as possible the first time.

You're doing great! Good luck, d:)

Adrian Swift said...

Thanks, Debra!

I appreciate your comment. Yes, I know you take the measured approach. This is new for me. I've sensed over the past several drafts that if I slowed down the pace I could make the manuscript better the first time through.

I just have to avoid stalling the work due to too much editorial thinking: if I can keep moving forward and then this will turn out well!

Best wishes for your own forward momentum,


Jules said...

I just want to say, you are an inspiration, i happened to come across your blog and i have been a dorment writer for along time and recently have become inspired again!! I am absolutely absorbing allyour advice and it is refreshing and motivating:-)
I just want Thank you for giving your advice to others and sharing your knowledge..

Adrian Swift said...

Jules, you're very welcome! Many people stop by without leaving a comment; I really appreciate your taking the time to share your thoughts. It's good to know my blog has been of value to others. Glad you're writing again, and I wish you all the best!