My critique partner is wrapping up her edits on her novel, and I think my part in the process is done. After my round of edits she made changes, then passed it on to her beta readers (non-critiquers) to get their reactions. That feedback is coming in and she’s onto her very last phase: proofing the ms for errors. After that she might have it out to the agent tomorrow, if all goes well!
For me, I am going to be getting back to writing!
The problem I am having (among other things) is the need to switch gears. After reading a grammar book, a high-level plotting technique book, a book on editing fiction for a late draft, and then going into edit mode on my crit partner’s late-draft ms, my mind is fully focused on trying to write super tight.
That, however, is not helpful for writing my first draft, which is where I am at on my current wip, hereafter known as EG. I spent hours on Monday staring at the scene I was trying to work on, eking out a word at a time, restricted by every “rule” about writing tight. It stopped me in my tracks.
Last night I had a talk with myself. Basically, it went like this:
I hereby formally give you permission to ignore every so-called-rule you know about writing tight. Writing tight is second draft work. Adjective, adverb, dialogue attribution, pov-distancer weeding can be done once you have words on the page, but you need to have words on the page first. What you need to focus on right now is the story. Just moving through it. Getting a draft down. Once that’s down, THEN you can cut words, reshape plots, fix characterization and all of the wonderful re-crafting that happens in a second draft.
For now—sprawl. Write with abandon. Indulge in voice. Just write.