Saturday, August 9, 2008

We're taking away the whip, slavedriver

It's been a nice, quiet weekend so far. Hubby is helping his sister move, so he and Joey left last night and won't be back until Sunday. This leaves me with just the Michael-Monster. His toe was infected, so we're just hanging out and swilling antibiotics together. We watched the very first Star Trek movie together last night, put together my new office chair (to go with the desk that has not yet arrived), and ate frozen pizza for supper. The leg is hardly hurting at all--a vast improvement from what it was before it was drained. So today we took ourselves to the library and got the next two (last two) books of Diane Duane's Young Wizards series--he read the rest of them all this summer, along with a handful of other books. Joey finished off Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn, so we also picked up the next two Shannara books for him.

Last week was an awesome writing week, and I plowed through a lot of new word count. I almost got myself caught up in the "I can do that much every day and I'll be done in no time!" trap, but then I hit the next section of my almost-an-outline and stalled. At which point I started to reprimand myself and panic and then I remembered: This time, the project is about the writing itself, not about a deadline, not even a self-imposed one. The numbers I write on my calender are guidelines, not do-or-die--and even if they were, I'm roughly 6,000 words ahead of my guideline number. So I took a deep breath and backed off myself, and we're all much happier now.

I have to remind myself that I set up this novel's "outline" as I did for just this reason--to not fill in too much good stuff before I actually wrote it, so that I'd want to keep writing to find out what happens, while also giving myself enough guidance that I always have something to work toward. (The short version is, I wrote a notecard for each scene that I knew about for the main story, one for each character, one for each relationship, and one for a double handful of other elements that appealed to me for--at the time--reasons unknown. Then I tossed them together in a random fashion into 24 piles and wrote them down.) Some sections, I know a lot about. Some are already pretty much fully written--or were, I'm past that point now, pretty much. Other sections I get to and go, "Huh. I wonder how this fits in with everything else?" And then I set about playing fun games with the Muse to figure it out. And it's that appeal, that promise of the fun stuff of playing with ideas and finding out new things and new directions, that seems to be the key to keeping the story fresh for me. In short, that play time for each section, before I actually start to write it, is just as important as slamming a set number of words per day onto the page. I planned for those days when I set my total word count goals. I need to allow myself to use them.

In short: We're doing a really awesome job here so far, Slavedriver Me. Back off and let us keep doing it. One of the reasons we want to do this for a living is because it's fun, remember? So let's have fun!

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