30%

Having cleared no less than 15,000 words, FRAGILE GODS is now 30% complete (by wordcount). This is roughly in line with my plot so far also, so I consider it pretty accurate.

To this I just have to add, “Wow, that was easy.” I’ve been hemming and hawing about writing more since September (when I hit the 25% mark), and here in just a couple of days I’ve breezed through another 2,500 words. And these weren’t just scenes I happened to throw together, either; while I think they need more polish, I like the new scenes.

So what happened before?

I’ll tell you, because I suspected it and later confirmed it:

I had written a scene that I hated. Now, at first, I didn’t know I hated the scene. I secretly hated it. (Yes, secret from myself.) Like everything I write, at first, I thought “wow, that’s really cool”. (Else why write it?) But the scene was garbage. It felt like teenage fantasy with cheesy special effects and overdone character emotions and contrived relationships.

And so I hated it. And because I hated the scene, I hated the book, and I hated the project, and I hated writing, and so I didn’t write.

I finally deleted the scene. Now, my mother has preached the perils of word processing to me for many years, and it troubles her that at a single keystroke, I could destroy months of work. True, I might not like the text, but what if I change my mind later? What if I decide the deleted portion was better? What then?

So now when I “delete” large swaths of text, I don’t actually delete them. I cut them and paste them into a text dump document; my own literary landfill where if necessary, I can dig them out again later.

But I have never had to, because invariably, whatever I wrote afterward was better than what preceded. It might still have problems, but it has always been better than the original I threw out, to the point that when I’ve lost a newer draft or markup and have to re-edit, and then later find the other markup, I’ve made the same changes.

The shocking and useful lesson with my terrible scene, though, was that cutting it didn’t fix my motivation. I still hated the book. It wasn’t until I’d replaced the scene, in my mind, in my plot, with something I thought worked better, that I began to enjoy the project again.

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