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August 13, 2010


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Gods, I'm fighting this, too! Something I swore I'd never have a problem with. I'm basically pleased when the editor speaks up on little things and I can fix as I go, but when it sits on my head and mutters thinks like "how is this going to work..." I just want a Kraken tentacle to sweep him away!

I keep thinking, "This is going to be too short." and trying to find ways to beef 'er up as I go. Forgetting that I just need to GO!


Donna Cummings

I may have to borrow the Kraken once in a while when the internal editor gets too strident. LOL

I think the important thing is the "go". Because all the other advice makes it STOP. :)


The 'writing like it's a play' reminds me of how I felt starting my second novel. That was a couple of years ago now and currently my WIP. Yikes! (In my defense lots of life changes and interruptions with not a word written on the story for months at a time. Moves across the country and back, new job, going to school. Yeah, I get distracted. LOL) Anywhoo, I was determined to write faster than the years of the first and actually thought I invented a new way of writing...my 'script method of novel writing.' :) It's writing like a play, so I guess I wasn't so original after all. LOL

But I did get the basic structure down with a lot of 'placeholders' that to me sounded like script writing. Lots of permission to tell and just give instruction put in brackets. [Insert description of such and such here.] Or [See ____], where blank may be a link to a web site or even my own notes. I have a separate "notes" document where I even paste in blog comments or my own blogs (some unpublished when the start to ramble) as notes.

It's just more brackets to delete and a prolonged revision process. Crazy. LOL I think it does turn off that internal editor, but I have no idea if I've speeded up anything. Too many writing breaks to estimate. Right now I'm in a sort of zone, but running out of time...again. :)

Whew, I got wordy! Good luck speeding along, Donna. :)

Donna Cummings

Actually, Melissa, you HAVE created something different, since Mr. Bell's advice is to "write like it's play" (meaning "not work"), and yours is to "write like it's A PLAY". I like that too!

I think your script method is a perfect way to keep motoring through the story and then come back to fill in those blanks and brackets during the revising/polishing stage.

No matter what, the revision stage is prolonged -- but I think it's meant to be. LOL It's also why it shouldn't be done when you're trying to tell your story, because it throws up a lot of roadblocks.

Also, I don't think of you as "distracted". I think of you as "overworked". Yikes! How do you get it all done?


Wow. That does seem like a messy way to write. I almost wish the blog ate my comment as usual. LOL

All I can say is I can't remember ever having a blank page. If I'm stumped I'll put: [insert text here] then try for something. LOL

Donna Cummings

It's not messy -- well, creativity IS kind of messy -- but I think your method makes perfect sense.

AND, the most important thing is to work the way that is best for YOU. It doesn't have to be pretty. It just has to be productive!


The Kraken is always willing to help. Loves to eat inner critics...

I love the idea of don't revise while driving (writing) because it throw up roadblocks. And detours.

This is a metaphore I can totally see in my head.

Donna Cummings

Maureen, you're right about roadblocks and detours -- sometimes it feels like I'm driving a slalom course when all these things jump out (i.e., inner critic things), and I have to either put on the brakes, or swerve and take another route. It keeps you sharp, that's for sure! The main thing is to keep heading forward, even if you have to stop.

Liz Lipperman

Donna, great post. I, too, am unable to turn off my internal editor. I just can't. But for me, that's what works best. I write a chapter (longhand,) edit it while I type it on the computer, give it one or two more quick passes, then send it off to my wonderful CPs who line edit. I know a lot of you are groaning out there, but honestly, it works for all three of us.

At this point I have to tell you I am an obsessive plotter. I have to know where my story is going when I sit down to write. I don't always go there, but I have to at least have an idea.

The bad news is - it takes me longer to finish a manuscript, but the good news is, it usually doesn't need a major overhaul when I edit the finished product.

So, in all my infinite wisdom (insert LMAO here) I have come to the conclusion there is no right or wrong way. Do what works best for you.

Donna Cummings

Liz, I think that's a great process, and I'm a little envious because I wish it worked for me! LOL

But the bottom line is exactly what you said: Do what works best for you. There's no sense messing with a winning formula like the one that you've got. :)

I wanted to be a plotter. I've tried to be a plotter. But it was when I found out I didn't HAVE to be a plotter that my writing took off! LOL But now that my internal editor is trying to "streamline" my current process, we're having some struggles. LOL (I'm confident I'll win this battle though!)

Clarissa Southwick

What a great post. I have noticed that the more I know the slower I write. I don't think it comes so much from fear as from constantly going back to add things. "Oh! I need to foreshadow that!" etc. But I love the first draft. It's my favorite part of writing.

Donna Cummings

Clarissa, I think that's where "too much knowledge can be dangerous" applies. LOL I like adding a few things here and there, as I think about them while drafting, or even make little notes, as Melissa suggested above. And you're right about it slowing down the forward progress.

The first draft really is the freedom part of the process, so it's my favorite too. :)


It's great to see all the different processes and fascinating to see what works for different writers.

Oh, I tried to comment earlier about getting the write like it's PLAY not A Play, but Typepad didn't want me to revise myself! Play; to have fun. Got it. Great concept. LOL

Been busy replacing quite a few [alternate ending option] ideas with actual scenes so it's been a good day. Figuring out a 'perfect' HEA for a ghost story has about done me in. LOL

Donna Cummings

Poor Melissa -- you and TypePad aren't a match made in heaven. LOL But it sounds like you got a lot of work done today, so it totally makes up for my blog's lack of cooperation!

I always enjoy reading what other writers' processes are too, especially since there's usually a little tidbit I can use somewhere. :)


Eek- I'm doing that seem thing. STORY FIRST! STORY FIRST! WE CAN DO IT!

Donna Cummings

LOL, Colby -- it's an epidemic! Which makes me feel better knowing I'm not the only one.

Yes! We can do it! :) (Okay, right after I have some coffee. LOL)

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