Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Hesitation

I have five (count 'em: five) chapters remaining to write in the first draft of "Cocke & Bull." That's not a whole lot of work, you know. Not really, not as these things go. Even so, yesterday I wrote not a single word of Chapter 19, and I don't know if I will today, either. I am, sort of, stalling.

Chapter 19 is the Big Climax of the Second Act, the resolution of the inner conflict before the Third Act resolves the outer conflict and the book ends. So this chapter, the chapter I hesitate to start writing, is really the whole point of the book, the reason any of the words piled on either side of it exist. So, like, no pressure for me. I am afraid I'll screw it up or I'll see when I've written it that the heart of the book is something that's really pretty insignificant or just dumb, you see. As long as I don't actually write it out, I can assume that it's filled with greatness, made of awesome as the kids say, well worth my time and effort.

Which is all foolishness, you know. If I write it badly, it doesn't matter. There will be at least three revisions to the manuscript, and I'll have plenty of time to rewrite it. If I get the particulars of the scenes wrong, it doesn't matter. If all the dialogue is lame, it doesn't matter. If it's just stupid, it still doesn't matter, because I can rewrite it later and fix it. But until I've actually written something, I can't do any of that. I can only sit and think about how I'm almost done with this first draft and how I'm not writing Chapter 19 yet. Which means that I'd best get some words down on the page today at some point.

7 comments:

  1. Gee wiz willickers, Golly Gee! Nothing like putting the pressure on. Here's wishing you progress forward. Hi-ho chapter 19. Away!

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  2. Lois: Thanks for the wish! I wrote nothing at lunch! I plan to force myself to write a first paragraph on the bus ride home. If it's really bad, that might force me to write something better. We'll see. Honestly, I have to get over myself and just write the damned chapter. It's just that I can't see it yet, if you know what I mean. But then, I couldn't see the last chapter until I began to write it, and it's got some really cool stuff I didn't plan in advance; the words just found their way onto the page. So I should just trust in the process and write. We'll see.

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  3. I hear ya! Sitting down to write those first-draft words is the hardest part, because it feels so intimidating. I try to think of it as sketching out the skeleton of my someday-to-be-filled in portrait. That way I'm not expecting anything except a rough road map. But it's still tough. I wish you the best of luck, though I'm sure you don't need it!

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  4. Davin: I made myself write 600+ words. I also realized that the real climax of the book is in chapter 21, so I can go easy on myself. And while I was running, I had a fabulous idea about the ending of chapter 20. So it's all good. I just need to write about 3000 more words for this chapter, is all. But I can do that.

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  5. Sometimes backing off to decompress is good. I find that when I'm not writing I am still actively thinking about my WIP. It makes me feel better about my procastination.

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  6. Rick: Damn right!

    "Are you writing?"
    "Uh, I'm working on the next chapter."
    "Well, that's fine."
    "Yup."

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