Thursday, December 16, 2010
I learned so much from participating in NaNo over on Savvy Authors. The first valuable lesson was focus. I, like a lot of people, procrastinate. You know, the 'oh, I can write that last paragraph later tonight'. And then, later tonight comes and *poof*-nothing. But, in NaNo, you can't do that. Well, you could, but what would be the sense in participating? I was able to complete Secrets of Jenkins Bridge (the last 8500 words) in a very short amount of time. So short, in fact, that I was able to spend the rest of the month editing it.
Which brings me to Lesson two: Do Not Edit Right Away. At first, it was fine. I slashed my first chapter apart and it so needed it. Unloaded lots of unneeded words and scenes and got rid of the prologue. It made for a much tighter beginning. But, I had to stop myself after that. I was starting to find myself slashing things that would change the course of my story. So, when it is said to set the story aside for at least two weeks before beginning the editing process, it's a wise decision.
So, I have given myself permission (Yes, this actually does have to be done at times) to walk away from it and move on to my next project, Boneknapper. I've managed in the last couple of weeks to plot out my scenes for the first two chapters. This is something new I'm trying. With Secrets of Jenkins Bridge, I just wrote by the seat of my pants. This time I'm trying to loosely plot. Boneknapper is about a doctor, who along with a judge, a DA, and a taxi driver, has been vexed by the father of a young boy who tragically died by a freak car accident. The doctor couldn't save the boy, and the judge and DA both agreed it was an accident-not charging the taxi driver with any crime. This lays the groundwork for curses on all of them-using deceased human bones. Yeah, I know. Voodoo doesn't use human bones. But, I came across a couple of stories (out of Africa) where it was suspected a couple of people were kidnapping and killing children for use of their bones in sacrifices, curses, and so forth. This is what made me choose my story. But I certainly didn't want to write about some crazy going around killing kids. Not my cup of tea.
I'm basically finding myself to be more of a plotter than a panster. What are you? And do you set aside your manuscript for a couple of weeks before editing or do you do it right away??