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Sunday, May 10, 2009

Funny How Things Change

Once, not really all that long ago, I used to love starting a book. This was my time to explore the characters, get to know them, and get a handle on their story.

Now, I find writing the first five chapters (give or take a couple) to be like slogging through mud. Since I've usually just finished a book shortly before, I'm used to a much faster writing pace. I always pick up speed in the second half and going back to this careful, exploratory writing is frustrating. It's especially hard for me when I have multiple projects I also want to start.

I try to accept this because once I have the first five chapters down right, I know the foundation is solid, but it's still frustrating to me when I want to be back at end of the book speeds.

Once, I used to love the first draft of a book and have to force myself to work on revisions. The fun part was telling the story, and with it already down, I'd have to force myself to go through it again.

Now, I love revising. It's the first draft that I wish I could avoid. Yeah, I know. Impossible. :-) But once I have the first draft down, I know I have the story and revising is much more fun now. I'm still not quite sure how this happened or when, just that it has. This is probably the most bizarre.

Once, I was way over on the seat-of-the-pants side of the scale.

Now, well, I'm still not a plotter, but I like having a synopsis before I begin writing because it gives me a map to work with. I also do something I call chapter goals (or scene goals--it depends how far I break it down). I revise to use the word plotting, but it's kind of like that and that's as far as I'm willing to concede because the idea of doing the P word locks up my brain. ;-)

I wonder if these changes were an evolution because there's no real turning point that I can say, a-ha, that's when it happened! It just kind of made an appearance on my radar screen one day.