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bear by san

March 2017

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bear by san

With regard to getting words on paper, kessa said the following in a comment thread in her journal: the need to stop agonizing over the picky shit that really doesn't matter until the story is done.

And I realized I had something to say about it.

That's very, very true. And also not true at all. Which is nicely conundrumlike.

Which brings me to something Steve said at the SNAFFU/VSFA event on Saturday. (which was great fun, though we had to run home at about 4 pm because my knee was killing me and we were expecting a houseful of people.) Anyway, Steve commented at one point that as a writer, he had to tell himself lies. And the lies changed as his career did. From "I'm just writing this for myself" to whatever it is that he uses now. This made me think of buymeaclue's dictum that a writer must have suck and not-suck simultaneously to succeed.

In other words, you have to be able to see both your own brilliance--the things you are doing right--and believe in them, and trust them--and you have to always be thinking "I could do better. This isn't as good as it could be."

And for me, it's true. When I wrote my first novel, I kept telling myself it was just for fun. That was a lie, of course. Now I tell myself that I don't care what anybody else thinks. Of course I do, but when I'm writing I can't think about that.

Here's the thing. At one point, I very much had to force myself to write sucky first drafts, to bull through even when I didn't know what I was doing. These days, I don't do that so much any more. My first drafts take longer--but they're better.

But these days, I can write even when stuff isn't flowing. My joke is that inspiration is the thing that hits after I get the first 750 words on the page. If I can get through that, I can hit flow, and it takes me about an hour to write what it took me six hours to write before I got the 750 words down.

So I'm not writing as many words in a day, but they're better words. However, comma, it is important that I never let myself get too hung up on perfectionism--and while I worry a great deal about the right word and the right image and the voice when I'm drafting, these days, I don't worry so much about commas or word rep or so on, unless I happen to notice it going by.

Steve also made another comment I agree with--way back when, he told me "If you can finish one book, you can finish two, and the second one will most likely be better than the first." Which is great advice. Saturday, he had something else I liked, which was to say that when you're working on your first novel, the learning curve is so steep that every chapter will be better than the last one. So the temptation to go back and revise is crippling.

But if you go back and revise after every chapter, you'll never finish the book.

Finish the book.

That's all paraphrased, of course.

But enough of that. Look! Pictures!

These are courtesy of David Gordon:











Not very flattering, but at least I look like I'm having fun.



There. As long-promised, photos of redheaded!Bear, and The Follow Me Light in its natural habitat--around my neck, on something black.

Comments

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That's a pretty red! And it's a nice cut, too. Very flattering.

M
Thank you!
*hug* Thank you!

And, yeah. That may be the real secret of the legendary million words.
Shucks, ma'am. Thank you. *g* (I have always adopted as a personal anthem the old bad song that runs "She ain't the most feminine girl in town, but she's fun to be around.")

When I was a singer, and spending a summer at Tanglewood as a fellow,

Wow. Mere words cannot express my envy at the experiences implied by this sentence.

I love the Mahler story. I do something similar with job interviews, actually: I send in Corporate Bear. She's like me, only without the sense of humor. *g*
Apropos of nothing at all, my husband finished Hammered last night (it kept him up until All Hours) and is currently griping that the next book won't be out until July. So not only are you having fun, you're making fun for others.
You know how to make a writer's heart go pitter-pat. You can pass along the good news--the schedule for #3 has been pushed up, and it will be out in November rather than December.
In other words, you have to be able to see both your own brilliance--the things you are doing right--and believe in them, and trust them--and you have to always be thinking "I could do better. This isn't as good as it could be."

This is far more coherent than my motto of "delude yourself" -- by which I mean delusion for both that it's better than you realize and that you can improve it even further.
Hee. It's a Zen thing.

Another writer koan. You must have suck and not suck, for that is the Way.
Hummina.
*g* Right back atcha.

Speaking of tweaking stuff later...

...The stuff I post in the "Darling Du Jour" category of my Progress Reports are always, of course, first drafts. More and more lately I've been tweaking those particular passages once or twice after I post my LJ entry and read over it again. :)

Re: Speaking of tweaking stuff later...

*nod*

I often tweak mine, too. And I can't reread my own stuff once it's in print. It horrifies me to be unable to fix the broken bits.
Wow. You have the best smile ever.

That red looks like it would be your natural color, btw.
You make me blush and blush. Mysterious woman, I cannot manage.

Loud enthusiasm is within our capabilities, however.

Wheee!

And really, it should be--if I hadn't gotten my dad's hair. My mom's a flaming redhead.
Yeah, I'm working the suck/don't suck angle right now, and closing in on the first draft of the first novel. I've crept up to the point where I realize I *can* finish the first one, and I'm a little eager to start the second one, because I would do it SO MUCH BETTER the second time around.

How many books do you write at one time? Do you find that starting a sequel before finishing the first volume is good for momentum or a world of hurt?
I actually try to avoid writing sequels immediately after another book in the same series. For the simple reason that I don't want them all to start sounding alike. Also, when I finish a book in one series, I am sick of those people and want them gone.

And I'm stuck with one trilogy that I can't sell until I entirely rewrite it, because the first two books aren't very good.
I loved this post and not just because of the great pictures.
If you can finish one book, you can finish two, and the second one will most likely be better than the first." Which is great advice. Saturday, he had something else I liked, which was to say that when you're working on your first novel, the learning curve is so steep that every chapter will be better than the last one. So the temptation to go back and revise is crippling.

This is very true(the revise of every chapter being crippling that is)
It is. I mean, I do it now. But now, I also know I'm going to finish the book, and not keep going back to poke the first fifty pages endlessly.

Part of the problem is that books get hard at around 30K (the famous 30K wall), and so if you let yourself go back and fiddle endlessly, yu never get past it.
Great post. Added to my memories. The red looks very natural for you.
thank you!
Wow, Red! That wasn't how I'd pictured it at all. Cool.

About that whole drafting thing--that's right on the money.
ow did you picture it, just out of narcissism?

Hee. Steve is generally quite smart about these things.
There you are! Woo hoo!

Good thoughts on the writing stuff, too. Makes me think about what lies I've been telling myself... there are a few. But they're all for a better end, I hope!
Hey, whatever gets the words on paper, you know?
That first picture is great. It's that you look like you're about to laugh, it is.
I was trying to keep the water from coming out my nose. *g*
Yay,pictures! You're looking great!

...when you're working on your first novel, the learning curve is so steep that every chapter will be better than the last one. So the temptation to go back and revise is crippling.

Yeah. Someone said it's like whirlpools -- easy to get sucked into, but they don't further your motion down the river. It's taken two novels for that one to sink in, so to speak. *g*
"like whirlpools" Yeah yeah yeah.

BTW, we're on for dinner either Monday or Wednesday at McMullen's. Which would you prefer?
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