In Case You Were Wondering

Sorry I disappear for so long between posts. I really mean to make this blog a regular thing, but it’s tough. Not because I haven’t been traveling and/or cooking and/or DIYing (well, all right, I haven’t been doing much actual cooking, but I swear I’ve been doing the other stuff), but because there’s always something else to do.

Mostly reading. I know. I should probably slow down on the books a little bit and get some actual work done, rather than tearing through four books in a week and ignoring other obligations. But…books. Books, guys.

Plus, now that it’s August, my attention is turned toward November and National Novel Writing Month. Which is kind of ironic, considering I see people’s Halloween posts on Facebook and go: But it’s only August!

I’m such a hypocrite.

Anyway, when I actually am writing, it’s notes for the draft I hope to write for NaNoWriMo, which, by the way, is yet another draft of the same novel I’ve been working on for three (?) years. This is because I’m an incredibly inefficient writer. Not of blog posts, when I actually write them. But stories. I’m a pantser by nature, always have been. The first draft is for exploration and figuring out what the story is about and who the characters are, etc., etc. Except in my case it’s more like that’s what the first several drafts are for.

So it’s not until I get four or five drafts in that I realize that are a bunch of things I’ve added to/changed in my novel, and I probably need to research those things. Blacksmiths in the 1860s. The history of the circus. Scottish Highland Travellers. Not to mention a bunch of smaller things for single lines of dialogue that might end up getting cut in the final draft anyway, although those things have usually already been researched at this point, since they’re typically more specific than “symptoms of social anxiety.”

So the research, that’s one aspect. Every writer knows you should do meticulous research before you start writing, but it’s almost never plausible for me. Until I finish a draft or two (or three or four or five), I won’t really know what it is I need to research.

And then there’s plot and motivation. Dearie me. You want strong dialogue and well-rounded characters, you’ve come to the right place. You want to know what said characters want that lead to the events of the story and why these characters at this time…crap. The plot has to bend over backwards to begin to make sense but there are still oodles of plot holes. Crap, crap, crap.

So as I keep writing and revising and rewriting and re-revising, I gradually fix some things but then find other problems that either didn’t exist or went unnoticed before. At some point I should probably just sit down and figure it all out in the form of outlines and notes and maps and so on and so forth, but I never do.

Only after three (?) years of writing and revising and rewriting and re-revising, I feel like I really, really should. I’m never going to get anywhere without some planning.

So I’ve been working on character notes to figure out backstories in more depth and motivations that drive the plot better. My self-imposed deadline for planning is October 15th. That way I can spend my last two weeks free from writing and planning, get in a break before my month of literary abandon, and enjoy my cousin’s wedding in peace.

But I promise I’ll try to get better about blog posts in the meantime. Next up: Chagrin Falls, Ohio.

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