Friday, March 12, 2010

frustrated, chapter two

One of my main problems as a writer is my perfectionist streak. I simply can't go forward on a draft until the scene I'm working on is 'correct'. It doesn't matter how many times wiser souls tell me to just get over it, because, you know, that's what revisions are for; I simply can't move forward. It's this awful block that keeps me from banging out a complete first draft. Time after time it also kills my enthusiasm for the book. The end result? Some new shiny idea lures me away.

Now, I need to clarify here that 'correct' doesn't mean submission ready. To me, correct means that I have the foundation laid down, like a house. It needs a floor, roof, four walls and all the electrical and plumbing laid in. The bones. I have to have a solid structure first, and I can tackle all the fussy bits (picking out the cabinets, the wall color) later.

So here I sit, mind paralyzed as I contemplate chapter two. Then ending is sound. But the beginning, the set up, the first time I introduce the main character -- I just can't get it 'right'. The chapter's down, but that opening... the horror! and my first line! *shudder!* There's not enough conflict, and I'm making life too easy for the MC. Her life is supposed to be far from easy.

The other part of my problem is that I'm a visual writer. I need to sit or lie somewhere in the dark, or with my eyes closed, either with music blocking out the world or in dead silence, and let the scene unfold, movie style in my mind. Then I can write it. But as a stay at home mom with a bored 2 year old, my alone time is few and far between. Daydreaming before sleep used to work for me, but now I'm so tired out from the day that I usually just fall into bed and pass out practically as soon as my head hits the pillow. I need to either carve out more daydreaming time during the day, or else man up and figure out another way to do it.

Listening to kids' television is not conducive to writing. Let me just go on the record now and say it.

Now that I got all that off my chest, let's see what I've learned about my current block.

1) The opening is boring
2) I'm feeling like I need to sit down and visualize the scene (including setting)
3) I really need to squash the writer's inclination to be 'nice' to their characters and really put mine through hell
4) I need to stop being a perfectionist and just write!

It probably will help if I do a little more research to help me with #2... but that's another danger. I LOVE to procrastinate writing with the excuse that I'm 'researching'. But that's the subject of another post some other day.


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