Saturday, June 21, 2014

I Don't Write Fiction Like I Write Essays

Last night was a night of discovery.

No, seriously. I know that "waiting for your muse to inspire you" is a delaying tactic, that the very idea of a writing muse is nothing more than a comforting author's myth (if you can't think of something good, it's not your fault - your muse isn't behaving!). But.

If we posit that muses are real...I was visited big time last night.


Princess, despite only being four scenes (more or less) right now, has an ending and an epilogue. Yup.

Also I had a much, much better idea regarding the mythology of my world. I had originally planned for the magic to stem from some wellspring source, that was discovered by a group of explorers, and then some things happened that I won't mention because spoilers, even with the changes I've made, and the people who are reading this blog are probably also the people who will be reading Princess. Then for hundreds of years there was magic everywhere and wars and bad things I will also not mention because spoilers, until finally a bunch of people cast a spell that prevented everyone from using their magic. Except it didn't go quite as planned.

BUT. I decided to do away with the first event entirely for two reasons: 1) It made things overly complicated and 2) it was too much like Mistborn (I hadn't read Well of Ascension or Hero of Ages yet when I came up with the idea).

So yes. The new way is much better, even if none of you can properly appreciate it because I won't fully explain :)

I also thought up some snatches of dialogue for the sequels - one for the second book, and one for either the end of the second or the middle of the third. I'm not sure because I haven't even thought about plotting them yet. But I wrote them down, so I wouldn't forget.

Writing Style

The other big realization I had last night was regarding my writing style.

When I write essays - say, for school - I start with the first body paragraph, write a placeholder topic sentence, and then go. Sentence following sentence, in order. When I have gotten through the conclusion, I go back and write the introduction and thesis, then refine the topic sentences so that they flow/mesh with the thesis/accurately reflect what's in the paragraph.

But the general thrust is beginning-to-end, with very little editing. My first drafts are pretty much final drafts. If I've done my research and know generally what I want the paragraph to say, I can pretty much just sit down and go.

I've been thinking a lot about how I'm able to do this. Firstly, I had really great training in middle and high school. Secondly, I've had a lot of practice.

I can't write fiction this way.

First of all, a novel is a different beast from an essay. It's much bigger, for one. You have to balance different types of writing, like action and description and dialogue.  It's a different entity, and a more complicated one.

It's also one I haven't practiced as much.

All of that means that I can't sit down and write a first draft of a novel that reads more-or-less like a final draft. It's not going to happen. Maybe one day, but not now.

What was the point of all that rambling?

I hereby give myself permission to not worry about writing in a polished manner. I will write scenes as mostly dialogue and skip descriptions for later. I will leave things in square brackets and use all the adverbs I want. I will not worry about repeated reactions (every reaction is either a smile or a frown) and just leave them as placeholders and WORRY ABOUT IT LATER!

I have MOMENTUM! I will USE IT!


Okay, sorry, I'm getting a little punchy. I shall go make myself breakfast. And then write. Messily.

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