Craft

Words for Writers: Bidding Farewell

This weekend, I am in mourning.

Time of birth had been somewhere in the spring of 2007; the time of death was around 3 o’clock in the afternoon, July 26th 2012 while hunched over my much-dog eared and highlighted copy of Jane Austen for Dummies.

Yes, that was the moment that I realized that the manuscript I had been working on for nearly five years was dead. And just like for every other death I’ve had the misfortune of experiencing, the swift realization was followed by an even swifter sucker punch to the gut.

That was it. It was over.

I curled over the book, pressed my forehead against the spine, and cried.

Because this manuscript? This novel I’d written and was fact-checking with Dummies? That manuscript was unsalvageable.

What happened?

Well, this book was meant to be one of those kinds of books that is a revisionist history without changing any history whatsoever. The steel frame of 100% historical accurate events was the mold, and the story itself was melted plastic that I had pushed through the cracks to ooze out the bottom. It was meant to be one of those books that you read for the fictional story, and then when looked up the historical persons and events, realized it was completely plausible that the story had happened, even if there was time travel and science fiction.

Only the frame, I realized, was the wrong shape. I had messed up somewhere four years ago, messed up again on both research trips to England; I had gotten one itty bitty number wrong (1805 instead of 1804) and it had shattered the plastic of my story. There was no way to take the steel frame away and reposition the plastic segments without cracking the whole book apart.

The book was dead.

Now, before you try to tell me that there’s always a way to shift things and muddle, please understand that I filled a whole notebook and several hours worth of conversations with friends and fellow writers. And there are cheats, there are always cheats, but I didn’t want to cheat.

The whole point of this book is that there weren’t going to be any cheats. It was going to be all right and plausible and yet completely fantastic and impossible.

So getting this one thing wrong, this one major thing, completely destroyed the rest of the novel. The time line was thrown entirely out of whack, and no matter how much tetris or jenga I play with the plot, I cannot make the shattered pieces of plastic fit the frame any more.

This was especially hurtful and frustrating to me as I had already had a discussion with my agent about the book and he had said that while it was a fine manuscript, he wasn’t interested in shopping it. I wasn’t trying to revise it to make him change his mind, but because I thought the story was still worth fighting for, still worth improving, and that if the book was in great shape I could put it away for a while until someone asked me if I had a romance novel to shop.

I had also mentioned it to some important folks in NYC whose interest had been piqued, so I felt like I was not only witnessing the death of my novel, but that I was in some way betraying the confidence these other people had in my work. That I had let them down.

That, I think, was the worst part of it of all.

I felt like a miserable, utter failure. I still do, a little.

So what now? What does one do now, when something you’ve worked so hard on suddenly becomes non-viable? How do you, as an author, handle actually giving up on a story?

The first thing I did was open a very good bottle of wine, sit out on my deck, and brood. I filled notebooks with possible cheats, but disliked every single one of them. I called my ever faithful beta reader and hashed it out with her, and we came to the same conclusion: unsalvageable. I spoke to an author friend: unsalvageable.

I am frankly still flailing emotionally. I had two very rough nights, one filled with horrendous nightmares about how none of the books I ever produce again will be good and that I’ve used up my life’s allotment of ideas.

The only way, it seemed, to be able to get over this decision to bury the book was to treat it like an actual person who had passed away. After all, we writers really do emotionally connect with our novels as if they were people. We cherish the characters and the worlds, we take pride in the moments and fight with the errors. We spend years thinking about, thinking through, thinking around our books.

Books take up real estate – emotionally, mentally, physically.

To have to give up a book is, very much, no different from having to safe farewell forever to a loved one.

To that end, here is the Kubler-Ross model of the Five Stages of Grief:

Denial – like me, you’ll probably be stunned and horrified when you realize that this book is done. It is gone, and not in a good way, where it’s heading off to an agent or editor. It will never be read, it will never be cherished, and it will never leave your home. You’ll rage, you’ll wail, you’ll have a very tough few nights.

Anger – and then you’ll be mad. Angry that you screwed up the research so very badly, angry at your beta readers when they told you that it was a good book (even though it’s not their fault that it’s not working, and they may have genuinely enjoyed it; that’s why it’s called irrational anger), angry at the book for not being better, angry at the world for forcing you to give up.

Bargaining – then you’ll start to try to find away around it. Changing plot points, switching characters, telling the book from a different POV or starting period, anything, anything to not have to give up on it.

Depression – but of course, none of that will work. Because if it worked, then it wouldn’t be a dead book, would it? So you’ll cry. You’ll hurt. You’ll feel terrible and probably walk around like a zombie. People will say, “it’s just a book” and you’ll hate them a little bit for not understanding. It wasn’t a book, it was a tiny spark of life and you are the one who had to smother that flame.

Acceptance – In the end, it will suck and it will hurt, but you will come to the realization that putting the book away will be good for you and your career. The book just isn’t working, just isn’t good enough, and to focus on something that is working, you have to sacrifice this one. It will be okay. Your world didn’t end because you had to let go. It’s just fine. You will always hold a warm spot in your heart for that book, those characters, that world, and in the end, at least you hold it.

In the end, I’m sad to see this story get put away in the box under my bed labelled “morgue”.  But I also feel lighter, because truthfully, this book wasn’t working. It never really was working. I got some fabulous feedback from some fantastic beta readers (James Bow among them; what a swell guy! Especially since he’s pretty much the antithesis of this book’s target demographic and apparently loved it.) but I never really could seem to get it to work.

The characters were never quite on (though I loved my version of Captain Francis Austen), the plot contrivances never quite natural enough. It was like the plastic fit, but not comfortably.

So what now?  Now, the book goes away, possibly forever. Maybe in a few years I’ll dig the research out again and start from scratch, re-read the whole set of articles and texts that inspired the novel to begin with and try to make a go of writing a whole new book.

In the meantime, I will mine the corpse for great scenes, imagery, and lines to feed my new manuscripts. I started a brand new novel a few days ago, and I think I can use some of the scenes from the dead book in this one.

Possibly, if someone invites me to an appropriately-themed anthology, I will revive the concept as a short story.

For now, I will make my farewells and move on to other projects.

And who knows, perhaps, just perhaps in a few years, I might release the original novel as a freebie for a laugh. “It’s a good book,” I’ll say. “Shame that it’s dead. Enjoy the zombie goodness.”

I am still in a rough place. I am not over this book, not yet. I don’t know when I will be. But I know that it was a far braver, harder thing to do to acknowledge to myself that the book wasn’t working, couldn’t work, and to accept that and put it away. Far, far better than flogging a book that no one could ever accept or sell, a book that I insisted to myself, to my agent, to editors and publishers and the reading public was good when it wasn’t, it simply just wasn’t.

And it’s tough. And it sucks. But in the end, it will make you feel better, feel proud, and feel ready for the next hurdle of being a professional writer.

Words from Other Writers On Mourning Your Book:

I asked: How do you deal with realising your book is dead? When should you abandon a book?

Nikki Faith Fuller‏ (@Myth_Girl): When you no longer feel like you *have* to do it. And it’s not an abandoning, but a letting to 🙂

August C. Bourré‏ (@FishSauce): Never abandon anything forever. Bits can be used, or it can take a new shape, but don’t see that as abandoning.

Gethin Jones (‏@gethinmorgan): When it stops being fun!

Fingers Delaurus: Look at George Lucas. Ponder. THAT should motivate to lock the thing away when your editor says it’s done 🙂

Victoria De Capua Campbell: Take a holiday. Distance.

Adam Shaftoe: Strip it for short story fodder.  Remember that this will not be the last thing you will ever write. Find a take away from the experience that will let you improve on the next project.

K.W. Ramsey‏ (@KWRamsey): It’s never abandoned. It’s just put on the back burner until the answer appears or I die, whichever comes first

Gillian Leitch‏ (@gilliandoctor): From the ashes something beautiful will come out- lost, but not forgotten, and lessons learned.

Rob St-Martin When opening the file (or notebook or whatever) doesn’t excite me, drains me dry just thinking about it, and I dread the sight of it, it’s time to stuff it in the archives and move on. Whatever good that can be salvaged from it will be, one day. Just not right away. Time will offer the emotional distance required to deal with it.

Derwin Mak Similar to what Rob says: when it isn’t fun to work on the story anymore. However, exhaustion doesn’t equal fun. On both my novels, there were times when I was exhausted, but I was still enjoying it.  As to what to do with it later, parts of it can wind up in future stories.

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For more posts on the business and craft of writing, search my Words for Writers tag.

JM FreyWords for Writers: Bidding Farewell
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Review: “Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark” 1/2

While in NYC last month, my editor Gabrielle and I decided on a whim to go into Times Square and see get rush tickets.  We wanted to see a show that we couldn’t see elsewhere (I in Toronto, here in San Francisco), which eliminated a bunch of the productions that were currently touring or would eventually do so.

The centre of the Venn diagram depicting tickets available and shows that met our criteria fell firmly on a single show – Spider-man: Turn off the Dark. I am, and always have been, a Marvelite (I spent a lot of the trip to NYC pointing out locales from Marvel comics), and Gabrielle was game, so off we trotted to the Foxwoods Theatre for the Matinee showing.

We were seated in pretty much the dead centre of row R in the orchestra – smack dab in the centre of the bottom and the perfect place to look up and watch the stunt performers wail on each other. There were also platforms hanging off the edges of the balcony like eyries; clearly where our favourite web-head was going to perch. I was quite excited to be there, and the theatre was filled with lots of young boys and girls who clearly felt the same. I’ve never seen so many Spidey pajama sets in one place before!

Gabrielle studied music in uni, and I studied theatre – I also averaged two to three community theatre musical productions per year (or at least, theatre productions with music in them) from the age of four to the age of eighteen. I say all this to explain where I’m coming from with this review.

And because of this, we had just as much fun peering up at the actor’s monitor screens as we did watching the show. The woman sitting beside us did not understand why we kept craning our heads around to stare at the front of the balconies, and once we explained, she didn’t understand the appeal.

Theatre geeks, you just can’t take us anywhere.

Now, before I get into an in-depth analysis of the show I feel I should talk a bit about Julie Taymor, the widely publicised accidents and problems, and some of my thoughts on the overall production.

I didn’t see anyone get hurt.

The stunts are extremely difficult and require an immense amount of coordination to not get tangled in each other’s cords but to land in the right attitude in the right place at the right time in the music, so I am not at all surprised that the rehearsal ran long and performers were injured. The stunts were extremely impressive and well done and really added to the show.

Yes, the lead actor was rarely the same stunt performer who swung through the air, but sometimes he was, and usually he was singing at the same time which was damn impressive, so I am more than happy to give him a pass for the other major fight sequences for which he is not trained.

I know a lot of people were really peeved about the character Taymor invented and added: Arachne. But trust me, she is both necessary and an awesome addition.

People were also peeved that Taymor added extra villains (beyond the Green Goblin, some of which were her own invention) and here I agree that it was excessive and unnecessary. As cool as the “Sinister Six” sounds, the plot could have easily made do with the “Terrible Two” and it would have saved time, costumes, budget, and my headaches.

Julie Taymor has what we fondly called Artistic ADD when we studied her in university. She has fantastic ideas, but she piles concept onto concept onto concept instead of just developing one. Her visual vocabulary is constantly shifting, which throws the viewer off. As soon as there’s an unspoken social pact established between audience and play about the vocabulary of the visual conventions of the design, she bloody well shifts it and you spend half of the scene trying to parse what you’re looking at instead of paying attention to the narrative. Or, to put it in less poncey academic terms – too many ideas, all of them half-developed.

Generally, a Taymor production runs about twenty minutes too long. Spider-man was no different.

Act One was phenomenal and fantastic. I would change very little about it. In fact, I enjoyed it so much that after my toilet break during the intermission, I immediately bought the soundtrack.

Act Two was a hot mess and I feel like if the new director, Philip McKinley gave me a morning with the script and an afternoon with him, I could probably fix it.  It’s not unfixable, it’s just garbled, and all the attention is on the wrong stuff. It needs, I think, a set of eyes and an exacto knife that aren’t attached to anyone involved closely with the production.

The soundrack CD I bought is also a mess – clearly an attempt to recoup as much money as possible by spending the least amount of money on it as they could. The quality of the songs are fine, but it’s not in show order, some of the best numbers are absent, and some of it is sung by Bono instead of the actors. Now, I know when they released the Wicked soundtrack, they purposefully omitted  Nessa’s song The Wicked Witch of the East in order to maintain the secrecy of one of the plot twists. But there can’t have been such forethought with this CD, I don’t believe it. And it’s a shame, because my favourite song of the whole show, Bullying by Numbers, was one of the ones omitted.

The show is not High Art. It is entertaining as hell, which is all that it is meant to be. It is a rocking good time. And, somehow, they jammed some really great Classic Greek Theatre values in as well. It was like this fabulous smushing-together of Aristotle and Stan Lee.

Next up on the blog: the Overalls – Theme, Plot, Costume, Performance, Set, and Music. Excelsior!

JM FreyReview: “Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark” 1/2
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Words for Writers: Killing Your Babies

Coined by Ernest Hemmingway, the phrase “to kill your babies” is not about infanticide, but about editing.

Tumblr Question: If you’d be so inclined to discuss the matter, I wouldn’t mind seeing you address the writing concept of what I refer to as Killing Your Babies. The next step after learning all the rules, and structure and tradition and accepted theories and habits, and knowing when to tear the rule books up. Just tossing that one out there. : )

Right. Okay. This is a hard one.  Especially if we’re talking about your first novel.

Simply, “Killing Your Babies” refers to having to edit out something you love in order to make the story/book/script better. It utterly, completely sucks. It is, quite frankly, one of the hardest things to do as a professional writer.  When you write, you will inevitably get attached to an idea, or a character, or a concept, or a line – and generally, like any proud parent, you will cling tooth and nail to that thing you love, and will do anything to keep it in the story.

For me it’s the last one – I get so attached to specific phrases, and I do anything in my power to keep them.

(Gabrielle Harbowy has actually told me that I crow over them like Peter Pan – “Oh, the cleverness of me!” – and that it’s difficult to get me to cut them. She says it’s one of my biggest flaws, and I consciously make an effort to not be Peter-Pan-like whenever I get my edits and revisions back.)

It’s bugging hard, killing your baby. Removing something from a book is emotionally draining. You mourn for what has to go, you bargain to keep it in, you rail and you get angry that nobody understands why it should stay. It’s got such a visceral phrasing for a reason – because you behave and you feel as if you actually are killing a helpless infant. And you mourn it as if it were an actual death.

But in the end, the aim of a writer is to create a script/novel that is a cohesive whole with nothing superfluous.

Knowing whether you should remove it is another matter entirely. It’s really hard to figure out which of your babies you should be killing, if any at all.

Generally, I find that if more than one beta reader comments about it, then it’s a good indication that, no matter how much I love it, it doesn’t need to be there or is actively impairing the quality of the manuscript.  If more than one reader says “Why is this character here?” or “this scene is the way of the plot” or “why do you need this concept?”, then it’s an indicator that the stuff that’s getting the negative attention needs to be addressed.

Sometimes, I force myself to sit back and ask, out loud, “Is this self-indulgent?” If the answer is yes, then out it comes. Or I’ll ask, “Is this impeding the pace of the narrative? Is it keeping my hero from being the hero? Or my villain from being the villain? Is it absolutely necessary for the reader to know this, or can they understand the world/narrative just fine without it?” If I answer yes, out it comes.

But killing babies is an intensely personal process, and I can’t offer pithy advice or hard-and-fast-rules on how to deal with it. All I can say, really, is… deal with it.

If you want to be a professional writer – novelist, academic, screenwriter, etc. – part of that is learning to suck it up and do whatever it takes to make your story the best it can be. Part of that is learning how to take criticisms and look at them with a level head and make a choice. (And that’s hard, I won’t pretend it’s not. I’ve had to email my agent and apologize for my overly emotional reply more than once).

Sometimes it means arguing with your agent/editor about choices, and defending yours; sometimes it means accepting that you wrote too much, or didn’t explain it well enough, or that you need to delete a character, or that, something you love has to go.

The thing with a story is that there is always so much more in your head than what you can cram onto a page. There are scenes, little moments, backstories, world building, characters, and conversations that you think are stunningly important and fascinating. You wouldn`t have written your book (or screenplay, or comic, etc) if you didn’t.

But it can’t possibly all fit on the page. Not if you are going to tell a good story, and that is the key thing to remember. That, in the end, you are telling a story. A single, vital, living story. It might have subplots and twists, but in the end it all braids together to become one story and it is that story that you have to serve.

I will repeat: it sucks.

Nobody wants to kill their babies. But in the end, you owe it to your work – your world, your characters – to give it the best presentation you can.

And if you really, really love what you’ve cut, keep it in a morgue file/box, and save it for another project, where it might work better.

I’ve already given a case study about having to pull an entire character out of a WIP, and the angst it caused, so I decided to poll my writer friends to see if they had any advice or stories to share.

Here is some more advice from other writers:

Julie Czerneda, author of The Species Imperative series:

Doesn’t bother me at all. I’m ruthless. I delete. Paragraphs, scenes, chapters, plot threads, characters. Highlight, delete. I refuse to look back or regret or save. I think it’s my training from non-fiction, in part, and being an editor as well. If A doesn’t work, wipe the slate and try B. Faster and cleaner. When something’s right, I can tell because it survives me, but if a phrase or cool bit tries to persist beyond its expiry, I’m suspicious of its motives. Off with its head!

That being said, this is how I behave during my own revision process. If my editor finds something that will be a problem for a reader in the draft I submit, almost always it’s not a question of something needing to go, but of something missing. I didn’t include a step or reveal a point or set up an emotional payoff properly. I tend to err on the side of oooh, I’m being mysterious.

The bottomline? There’s always a better way to write something, and never enough time to explore all the possibilities. Perfection is a direction, not a goal. If pruning makes the work better, and it usually does, keep the clippers close at hand.

From Jason Leaver, Writer/Creator of the smash-hit webseries Out With Dad:
When I write a screenplay I always let go of the practicality of production. Just write from my heart and worry about the rest later. “Later” have a nasty habit of catching up – and sometimes you’re forced to make harsh revisions based on the practicality of production, budget, logistics or even technical limitations.

The project I’m in development on right now has core concept that I’m IN LOVE WITH. I’d go so far as saying it is the heart of the project. However, this piece of the complicated puzzle that is production-hell, has been vetoed by my producers. I hate them for it, yet I can’t deny they’re right. It is simply outside the scope of feasibility. The compromise we have is good. One day I may even see it as an improvement. For now though, it feels like this project has been downgraded. That downgraded feeling will probably last right up until we get into production.

From Laurie Channer, author of Godblog:
Yes, you sometimes have to kill your babies, or chop off their cute little fingers.  But just because you love it doesn’t mean it’s the best thing for the piece.  But you’re a writer, and you go confidently knowing someday you can cannibalize those orphan bits (mixing my metaphor here somewhat) into something else that you’ll write.  That lovely moment, or killer piece of dialogue or entire scene can be dredged back up and tweaked into something new you’re doing.  And then that’s one less thing that you have to make up.

From August C. Bourre of Vestige Book Reviews:
The more you do it, the easier it gets. And most important: learn to tell between what you like & what’s good. Not always the same.

Derwin Mak, Aurora Award winning author of The Moon Under Her Feet:
A story should be more than the sum of its parts. Therefore, if there’s an idea, character, subplot, paragraph, description, or sentence that doesn’t work well with the rest of the story, you have to get rid of it, no matter how interesting or well-written it is on its own. You can save it for use in another story later, but your priority is to make your current story the best it can be.

Ira Nayman, author of the Alternate Reality Information Network series:

  1. Look at every opportunity to rewrite as a new opportunity to exercise your creativity.If you think of rewriting as a chore, like doing the dishes or declawing the rhinoceros, you are guaranteed to hate the process. If, on the other hand, you approach it with the same attitude that you approach your first drafts, you will find it much easier (and actually fun, as hard as that may be to believe). Consider writing a story answering a series of “What happens next?” questions. When you’re writing your first draft, you’re asking the questions yourself. When rewriting, the questions are being asked by the editor. Ultimately, no matter who asks the questions, your job is to make the story the best that it can be.
  2. Write a lot.If it takes you ten years to write a single short story, you will be crushed if an editor suggests you change a single word. If, in those 10 years, you have written a couple dozen short stories, a few novellas and a novel or two – and you are constantly circulating them until they find their publisher – you will be less emotionally invested in any individual work. Not only will this make it easier for you to rewrite, but it takes the sting out of outright rejection.
  3. Keep in mind that in our digital age, nothing is etched in stone.If, after rewriting a story at the behest of an editor, you still feel that your original version was better, wait until the rights revert back to you and publish your original version on your Web site. In fact, you can have fun with this: post both versions and ask your readers which they prefer (as long as you’re willing to accept the possibility that they will choose the edited version…)

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    For more posts on the business and craft of writing, search my Words for Writers tag.

 

JM FreyWords for Writers: Killing Your Babies
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COVER REVEAL – The Dark Side of the Glass by J.M. Frey

Art by Deron Douglas

This is a story about Mary, number one fan of the hottest cult vampire detective TV show, City By Night.… until it becomes all too real.

An accident with the Craft Services truck sends her hurtling into the world of the show, and Mary is thrilled – who wouldn’t want to live alongside their favorite TV characters? Unfortunately, living in TV-land isn’t all that Mary thought it would be. The charm fades when Mary realizes that the extras still don’t speak, the matte paintings don’t become real, and all the infuriating flaws in the writing are just amplified when you have to try to interact with the shallow characters.

And then, of course, the lead character Leondre DuNoir falls for her!

Sure, fine, he’s hot… but he’s also a bit, well, flat. And his admiration comes with its own set of problems: Antonio, Leondre’s psychotic stalker, has a habit of killing off the girls-of-the-week. Mary is disillusioned with what she thought was a lush world until she had to try to manoeuvre in it, and now she’s about to be murdered by one of the stupidest clichés in the history of television. Her only hope is to find a way home from a world that, pardon the pun, totally sucks.

Coming from Double Dragon Publishing in June 2012

Read the first chapter.

The book will be launched at Polaris 2012!

JM FreyCOVER REVEAL – The Dark Side of the Glass by J.M. Frey
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Words for Writers: A bit of advice for NaNoWriMo

Logo for National Novel Writing Month

NaNoWriMo – National Novel Writing Month – is almost here! Across the interwebs, writers of every age, genre, creed (pantsers vs. plotters), and experience levels are revving up to participate.

As veteran of NaNo (have been doing it since 2003, won all times but 3, and in my defense, I was writing thesises or MA school applications), I  have been asked a few times if I have any advice for the newbies.

Yes, I do.

Remember, as wonderful and fantastic as NaNoWriMo is – 50K of a first draft is not a novel.

The average commercial novel is between 80-120K. That means that what you have at the end of NaNo is a very, very good start. You have half a novel, and only the first draft thereof. But it is not done. (Have pity on agents and slush-readers! Don’t send it out on December 1st!)

A novel is not a novel until it has been edited, polished, revised, beta’d, red-penned, and re-re-re-rewritten. Your NaNo is brain vomit and it needs to be tidied before it can be a novel.

But what you DO have is the foundation on which to lay an entire, fantastic novel, a DAMN good start, and brand new set of work habits to add to your tool kit. You have experience, an idea of what your novel can grow into, and enthusiasm. You have a new community of peers to support you, critique you, and help you. You have the glowing knowledge that you did it, that you’ve made it this far… and frankly, getting to 50k on a first draft is the hardest part. It’s all downhill from here. What is another 30-50K on a novel that you’ve already done 50k on? What is, as my agent says to me, “a few more months spent dialing it in?”

And I don’t say any of this to be mean or to put you off NaNo; quite the opposite!

I say this so that you come into NaNoWriMo with a clear understanding of what it is EXACTLY that you are creating and that it will be, in all honestly, a bit crap.

And you know what?

THAT IS FANTASTIC. ALLOW YOURSELF TO BE A BIT CRAP.

The truth of the matter is… first drafts are always a bit crap. In fact, first drafts are meant to be a bit crap. That’s the nature of first drafts.

And the reason you allow your first draft to be a bit crap is because the important part of creating a first draft is not to write a polished, perfect, incredible novel. The point of a first draft is to get the STORY onto the PAGE. All the magic of tone and form and style happens in editing. But all the magic of running and jumping and loving and hating and living and dying and killing and screaming and kissing … that happens in the first draft. And it is supposed to sweep you away and plunge you into your world and make your chest ache and your stomach twist and your eyes swim and your mouth grin.

And you can’t do that if you’re self-censoring every time you pick up the metaphorical (or not) pen.

So allow your first draft to be a bit crap.

Because fearing to write because you’re going to be a bad writer is silly; if you hate everything you put on the page, if your inner editor cringes at each typo, then how will any of it get ONTO the page?

Embrace that your NaNo is going to be a bit crap and use that as permission to keep writing. Think: “Oh, well, this scene is a bit crap. But that’s okay, because I can edit later! LATER! For now I will follow my fingers and my imagination wherever they shall lead and it will be GLORIOUS.”

So there it is. There’s my advice for NaNo.

BE GLORIOUSLY, WONDERFULLY, UNASHAMEDLY A BIT CRAP.

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For more posts on the business and craft of writing, search my Words for Writers tag.

JM FreyWords for Writers: A bit of advice for NaNoWriMo
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