Thursday, 21 August 2014

Tackling the Unwieldy Task

Virtuall Ideal is done.
Well, that is to say, the first draft is complete.
That is to say, I have most of the story, from one end to the other, 15 episodes, 200,000 words, even though I've changed bits part way through and know I have to chop/add scenes.

Now I just have to sit down with this behemoth and force it into some sort of order. I need to pull apart each scene like individual pieces of lego; line them up, discarding the unsightly ones and straighten out the ones that have accidentally been bent out of shape. Then I can start to rebuild my masterpiece.

Moving away from my lego metaphor, I then need to place each scene under the microscope, peer into its very cellular make up, to make sure it is perfect, that it is adding to my masterpiece, not detracting. A healthy, life giving scene, not a cancerous, death bringing one.

And that is pretty much why I haven't done anything on the manuscript since I finished the first draft. I'm scared. I'm overwhelmed by the sheer size of the project. My mind becomes blank in panic as I think of making that first dissection.

I have brained stormed. Written out nice to do lists. Given myself deadlines. And yet, still for 21 days I've done nothing. Well, that's not completely true. I've tried a lot of the great advice that I've given others; I've listened to podcasts, I've read books, I've sat down at my computer, only to get up a few minutes later.

Alone and by myself I could not get anywhere.

Then last night I was talking with a friend over sugar-free hot chocolate (yes, San Churro makes such a thing, and it's delicious. As long as you don't burn your tongue on the first sip) and he asked me how I was going with the story. So I started talking. And then I continued talking. And then I talked some more. And he very kindly asked intelligent questions such as: but why did that character do that? And what made that male unsuitable? The more I talked about it, the more excited I got, and the more I wanted to fix it up. I wanted to get it ready for other people to read, so that they could enjoy what I've already had fun with. Also, as I talked I realised that I couldn't just leave Laurie in the mess I've created. She deserves to have her story written out well.

So tomorrow I aim to summarise on the Scrivener cards each of the scenes. Well, start at least, I must have close to 100 scenes. Once I have that, I'm going to rearrange them and put in blanks to show me what new scenes I need to write.Then it will be onto the internal scene analysis.

Step one is worked out. And now that I've told you all, I have added incentive to do it.

So thank you.

Tune back in to find out if I've done.

Or, if you sign up to receive this as an email (see top left hand side bar), then you'll be automatically updated. Nifty, huh?

Anyone else have good advice on how to push yourself into an unpleasantly large task? Taking into account I've given up refined sugar so can't bribe myself with chocolate?


  1. One thing that helps me get back in the writing mood, in the absence of writer friends, or any friends interested in stories!, is reading a craft book. That gets me thinking about my wip in much the same way your friend's questions did.

    That's an amazing first draft achievement, btw. Go you!

  2. Nice job! Even for professional writers from Essay State it can be not that easy as it seems at first glance. First draft is always the hardest. So keep going.