Wednesday, 14 November 2012
NaNoWriMo day 14: this may actually count as an epiphany
So anyway, I realised something a bit frightening today. If I wasn't doing NaNoWriMo, I probably would have stopped writing this story by now. I would have succumbed to the voice that tells me that some other story would be easier or that I need to spend more time planning before diving into a second draft. With no deadline, I wouldn't have been able to find the motivation to keep going in the face of all the problems I know I haven't fixed.
Stopping would have been bad. Every scene I write, every note I make, every random conversation with a Fire Demon while I'm doing the dishes... all that tells me a little bit more about the story and the characters. Time and persistence is bringing this story to life and if my doubts had been stronger than my ambition I'd have missed out on some really cool stuff.
For example, I just inflicted a truly horrific injury on my main character Serenity. The fact that I'd done it before made it no easier to write, which is why I'm hiding for a while and writing a blog post instead of continuing with the story. This time around I knew a lot more about how Serenity and the people around her were going to react. I'm able to put Ryan in a position where he can to step up and act like the group's leader instead of the whiny boy he's been for the last few days. He's actually doing it, too. I've uncovered compassion and gentleness in him that makes me like him a lot more.
I didn't expect things like this to happen. Everyone talks about writing the first draft as though it's the only real stage where creative insanity comes into play. They make a big song and dance over how you write the first draft and going through this blog it's pretty easy to see that I've had my share of issues over the 'planner vs pantser' debate. Writing the second draft of The Frozen Tear is changing the way I look at things. If I can write a 75k draft and do over 25k worth of planning, then come to the second draft and still be learning new things about my characters, it means that everything I thought I understood about planner/pantser is wrong after all.
That's a good feeling, not a bad one.
I have an answer to a question that I've had since I finished the first draft of The Frozen Tear and realised it was crap. The question was "will I ever be able to fix this?"
The answer? "Yes... but be patient."
Like I said at the top of the post, there are still loads of problems. This draft isn't going to be the one I hurl in the direction of the nearest beta reader. I don't think it's even going to be the last from-scratch rewrite. However, it is a step forward both in development of this story and in skill as a writer.
I think I'm going to make it. I'm not sure if I've reached the point of seeing the light at the end of the tunnel yet, but at least I know for sure that there really is a tunnel.