Thursday, March 29, 2012

Now what do I do?

I had an outline, a somewhat complete cast of characters, a full bag of enthusiasm and a blank Word document. Now what?

It was actually a challenge to start the novel form of Genome. Even though I already had lots of chapters sketched out, I found myself frozen on where to start the damn thing. Start with a prologue? Create a new beginning? Do some background work on the characters? Go make some coffee and fret about it?

I had to start somewhere, so I started at the beginning and just started to 'flesh out' as I went along. I'm still not sure if I did it the way a seasoned writer would but it got me started.

For some reason I decided to work my way all the through the story, not going back or rewriting as I went. I guess it did allow me to work on the 'arc' of the plot several times. But I'm sure it took me a lot longer to do it this way than to work 'sections' as I went. Who knows? I think for the next book I'll try working on interesting parts and then once I'm happy with those go back and kneed the parts together. Again, who knows? Anyone got a 'better' idea?

I was surprised that the more I wrote and rewrote the more I liked the story. It became more and more interesting as I added flesh and character to the cast. Sam and her sister became closer and more believable.  I expanded the geek squad team with new characters and antics. I gave them names and lives all their own instead of just 'the geek squad'.

This was the most fun I had while writing 'Genome'. I was finally past the 'what happens next' stage and into the 'how do I make it better' stage. I actually got to the point where I could remove stuff instead of trying to add more, more, more. Remove it! Out, damn'd spot!

The first time I actually deleted a paragraph it was like slicing off a toe. I immediately replaced it (thank god for Ctrl-Z) and sat there looking at it. Should I? It's a cool paragraph, why would I delete it? What if I never have another good paragraph and I just deleted my last good one?

After some more stupid waffling I finally deleted it, saved the file and turned off the computer before I could change my mind. There. Done. No going back now. Writers are weird people.

Don't be afraid to rewrite and remove. If you don't need it to move the story forward then you don't need it. No matter what Mr. InnerParanoidDude says, you have lots more paragraphs in you.

Trust me.

Keep writing!