Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Brain control

Okay... I can breathe a sigh of relief. I've reorganized my brain (left side took hold of right side and gave it a good shake). I did what plotters do when they get lost in their story--I plotted.

All the craft books I've been reading have been confusing me, paralysing the creative process until I was staring at my story and wondering, 'what the hell does that scene MEAN?'

It isn't that the information isn't being soaked up in my unconscious, but I can't think about every bitty detail while writing the first draft.

And it's okay. The story is okay. It will work. The characters fit. The mystery fits. The villain fits. It all fits. (Panic--is that bad? Should okay be good enough? or should I have delusions of brilliance? Then again I'm British and my 'okay' equals 'good' in American, so I should be good/okay).

Help :)

Now I have to write the second half of the story and try and make it fit brilliantly, while trying to set up the story as a possible series. Is there a greater audacity? Firstly, that you might be interested in my story and, secondly, that you might be interested in more...? I think not.

It is up to the writer to make you want to come visit again.

Others have done it...

I wonder what Agatha Christie's first drafts were like? And Nora Robert's POS drafts?


  1. My personal opinion is that if you care this much, it will have a good chance of being a great story, Toni. It means you are taking the time to make it the best damn story it can be. Besides, anything worth having is worth putting work into - you're doing that.

    Happy Tuesday! Oh and thanx for the ER link :)

  2. I've been doing the same thing. I'm reading Donald Maass's Writing the Breakout Novel and trying to absorb all the info about craft. But when I sit down to write, I feel a bit paralyzed. That's when we should always remember the saying, "Write the first draft from your heart, the second from your head."

  3. Wouldn't it be something to see Nora or Agatha's first drafts? :) I'll bet we wouldn't be so in awe of them, if we could read those early pages!

    I have read parts of the first draft for Robert Mitchum's CARRIBEAN. It made me think that I could do this too - and I'm sure you're going to be fine with all the care you're taking, Toni. :)

    I know exactly what you mean about putting in all the details you have in your head. I guess that's what notes and outlines are for! (Can you tell I'm paralyzed without some written guidance?)

    Keep going and it'll all start to pull together. :)

  4. Dear FBA,

    Don't talk yourself into a panic/writer's block. You'll do fine, I believe in you.

  5. I steal this from Spyscribbler's blog where she refers to the book TIGER TRAITS, by Nate Booth (on Tiger Woods.)

    In the book Booth apparently refers to these four stages on the path to excellence...

    Unconscious Incompetence: When we first start an activity, we don’t even know what we don’t know. It’s that beginning stage of complete ignorance about what we need to know to improve.
    Conscious Incompetence: This stage is when we know where we need improvement, but we don’t know how to get there, yet.
    Conscious Competence: Finally, we can do it! But it doesn’t feel natural, it’s not automatic, and we have to think really hard about it.
    Unconscious Competence: Best of all! This is where we feel it, and we feel it so naturally that it’s almost effortless, that we can do it without even thinking about it.

    Like Nora :)

    It's kinda like learning to drive a car :).
    And yep -- ignorance is bliss, and often way more comfortable :). The really hard part -- methinks -- comes close to the final stage .... so hang in there!!!!!!

  6. LOL--Loreth, thanks :) I had forgotten that. I first read that ideology when reading a book by Bruce Lee on mastering martial arts... funny how these things click sometimes.