Writing to a Deadline Part 3: “I got something… now what?”

“I got something… Now what?”

If you’re just hopping into the insanity that is my writing life, check out Parts #1 and #2 or this won’t make sense.

So, I have a main character.  I know who she is.  I’ve written two pages.  She meets a little girl and a dog.

 I stop myself.

Learn from your mistakes, Jennifer.  You need more than this.  You only have two months to write and polish this story for submission.  There is no room for error.  You need an outline.  You need absolute direction and form.  No room for straying.

Was I stuck?  No.  Two drives alone in the car gave me four more characters.  I have their wants, needs, and desires set in my mind.  I know how they will react when meeting my main character.  I know what is going to happen.  I know how it will end.  It wasn’t on paper, but I had an outline.

I went back and looked at the first two pages.  Wow.  They were beautifully written.  Probably the cleanest first draft I’ve ever done.

Too bad they didn’t work anymore.

I took a few key descriptive sentences I liked, and set the rest aside to start over.

In the back of my mind I knew everyone else was three weeks ahead of me.  But I knew where I was going now.  I had focus.

I knew how the story started.  I knew all five character’s motivations.  I knew the plot, and I knew the ending.  In fact, I could picture it.  The publisher gave it to me— it was that odd picture that I could not find a story in three weeks ago.  Funny how that happens, huh?

So, I knew where I was going… Now, I just needed to bring my characters there.

10,000 words writing to a deadline… outside the comfort zone of my genre.

This is the real world.  Here we go.

In the immortal world of Crush the Turtle:   “Let’s see what Little Dude can do.”

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13 responses to “Writing to a Deadline Part 3: “I got something… now what?”

  1. Just checking in to say, “I’m cheering you on, Jennifer!”

    In case you can’t spot me, I’m the one wearing one of my pom-poms on my head. Bad hair day.

    Must go. I have a beta read commitment (EEE!) to meet.

  2. Anyone who can bring Crush the turtle into their post is a definite winner in my book! I love your posts–they’re fun and keep me motivated in my own writing. Thanks for the great work. I highlighted you on my blog with an award (if you care to accept–but I know you’re a busy girl and won’t be bothered in the least if you don’t.) Good luck on your story!

  3. Good luck, Jennifer! Be wary though of being too focused on the “should’s” during the inception process. They may block your creativity and tamp down the story that might be wanting to come out. Remember, sh*tty first drafts.

  4. oh, it hurts when your wonderful words are at the mercy of the delete key. but it’s a good sign that you aren’t holding onto them, and you are already revising without mercy. that’s what will make it an awesome book :)

  5. I bet it was really tough to throw those first pages in the trash. The good news is if you can write two great pages, you can write more.

  6. Kudos, Jennifer. I would have given this a week, tops, then decided my energy was best spent elsewhere. You pursued the opportunity, and the challenge, and your determination has paid off. One Big WOOT on exploring new territory!

  7. writerwendyreid

    Woohoo! You are really disciplined. I would have been tempted to keep the first 2 beautifully written pages and bend the characters to fit what I had already written.

    I have really got to learn this planning..structure…outline. So far, I sit and write, send it to my beta reader who corrects my obvious mistakes – then I re-edit a few times and publish. Been reading posts on how to improve my writing and starting to realize how structure could really improve the story. I have a question, if you don’t mind. Could you explain the difference between editing and polishing?

    • I consider polishing the very final stage… making it perfect. Editing is getting the nitty gritty ugly errors out of it.

      Consider Editing like getting a haircut. Get rif of all those split ends. Polishing is when your hairdresser gets out the curling iron and makes you beautiful.

      • writerwendyreid

        Nice analogy since I went into hairdressing right after high school (many moons ago…lol) Thanks for taking the time to explain. :-)

  8. Ahhh… something, I and many can relate to. Thank you. The things we need to apply to ourselves are often the things we forget most. I remember the first time I learned, yes to the outline and yes to all the character needs and wants, then, just “puke out the first draft.” Sloppy, like an open channel, not neat, like a well trained writer. Then go back in and do your eight to twelve rewrites based on different qualities of the piece.

    Though I do love the drive around and solve the story problem method. I do that too very often. Good Luck with it!!!