Last week I talked about beginning a new project and the excitement and adrenaline that carries you through those early days.
This week I want to talk about what comes next--the middle.
This is arguably the hardest part of writing a book for any writer--at least it is for me. Once those early days of excitement fade and the realization hits that you have another 200 pages or so to write, it becomes harder. This is when you find out if you're really a writer or just someone who thinks they want to write a book.
A lot of people get caught up in revising and revising their first few chapters, trying to make them perfect. My attitude is why bother? If you're not going to finish the book it doesn't matter what they first few chapters are like.
I'm of the opinion that revision is for when you finish the first draft. Then you can take as much time as you need to make it sparkle. I actually enjoy the process of revision because the pressure of finishing the book is gone. You have a finished product, you're just trying to make it the best it can be. But that is a topic for another day.
The real work is done in this part of the writing process. It's where you sit your butt in the chair day after day and write. The excitement of beginning has faded and the end is nowhere in sight. Yet, this part of the process is not without rewards.
Having the story unfold before you, seeing your vision of the plot begin to become reality, and watching your characters develop and interact--these are all deeply satisying. The surprises that come along the way are also a pleasure. And anyone who has ever written a book knows that the plot is never as smooth as you think it will be and your characters sometimes surprise the heck out of you. I love it when that happens and I just go with it.
The trick is to not allow yourself to get so far off track that you can't find your way back again. But I find that a lot of these surprises can add depth to both plot and character development.
Then comes the day when you feel it--the end is in sight. You've passed the main crisis point in the book and all that is left is to wrap up the loose ends.
Or is it? That's a topic for next week!