Archive for the ‘Young Adult (YA)’ Category

Nov

6

2014

Drafting Series: Rewarded with the Horizon

Filed under: Drafting, Pondering, Writing, Writing for Children, Writing Style, YA Books, Young Adult (YA)

Today I’m stepping away from my ongoing NaNoWriMo experience to talk about what happens after Thought Splinters and Monkey Mind and Writing the Wrong Book. If you’ve been following this series, we’ve been talking about making drafting progress by figuring out what’s driving us to write. And we’ve been discussing how to get our publishing-centric, monkey mind to behave so we can writer the right book. And we’re also holding ourselves accountable by setting a reasonable productivity goal and then showing up to write. Hot dog, we are doing great. So, it seems like this is the perfect time to get to a drafting rewards. I like to think of this one as the horizon.

I often hear people talk about how glorious the first third of drafting is. Everything is shiny and new.

Yeah, not for me. Hate those people.

The shiny new part I experience, is the pliable lump of clay in my brain that has a few shiny splinters in it. That’s where my “new draft high” takes place. I’m giddy BEFORE I put a word on the page. But once I start writing I struggle. I find the first 1/3 of a draft like wandering around on a pitch black, moonless night in a place I’ve never been before. Without being able to see, I’m supposed to find all the good stuff out there, without bumping into all the dangerous pitfalls. It’s a scary, hot mess. And it’s slow going, which doesn’t endear me to the process. There are too many options and the whole thing gives me monkey mind.

But then something wonderful starts to happen. About the time I reach 2/3 of the way through my manuscript, I’ve started to figure out where I am. Every time it happens it’s the sun coming up and illuminating my world. I may not see everything clearly yet. There are still clouds and obstacles in my way, ┬ábut I get the undeniable sense that everything I need is out in front of me. I can see the horizon and it’s beautiful.

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It’s at about this time my characters start to reveal their true selves to me and I also begin to understand how they interact with each other and why. And the world I’m building begins to solidify and have rules and structure. And most importantly, sentences fly out of my mind and through my fingers that I know speak to deeper truths. They dangle there like vivid threads, brightening my horizon and waiting to be woven together later in the revision processes. This part of drafting is such a gift–enjoy it. Take a moment to appreciate what you’ve done and what you plan to do.

What is the toughest part of drafting for you? What moment gives you the gift of knowing that you’re headed in the right direction?

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