Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Nikki's Writing Ramblings

I'm a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to some things- writing included. And most of the time, I don't feel this is a good thing. I think that it's hindering me from finishing any writing projects lately. And that's driving me crazy! I have all these good ideas that get me inspired, but then once I start writing it out, that's where the nasty perfectionism comes to play.

I'm not a plotter. Well, at least, I don't plot every single thing. I get a general story idea, I think of many options for it to go in, and I just start to write. I've tried outlining and plotting. It doesn't work for me.

So I get a chapter written, or a scene, whatever. These days I can't seem to get to a full chapter because of one reason or another. Although, my latest project, which if I can get done, will be a first in a series that I find really intriguing. I think it will be somewhat original and unique, and that's always a good thing these days.

The first chapter is written. I've sent it off to a critique partner, and also have it posted in a crit group that I'm in. I've gotten good feedback, I've got people intrigued. Hey, that's good!

Yet, I've been stuck on chapter 2 forever! I keep re-writing it. I think I'm on my 4th or 5th. Ugh! And of course, by this time, I start to get burnt out. Well, that's not good at all.

So, I'm reaching out and asking some questions now. I need to get motivated again. I keep getting stuck in a rut.

Do you write your whole novel out, no matter how bad a draft it is, and go from there- sending it to crit partners, ect?

If so, if there are major changes to be made to your ms, how do you handle those? Would it be better to go chapter by chapter and edit as you go along? (I've heard good and bad about this)

I've done the whole submit a chapter at a time thing- then I get results, and with everyones thoughts, I go back and look at what I've written, and then I want to rewrite it. That obviously slows down the process of going on to the next chapter and going from there. I need a switch off button for the perfectionist editor/reviser in me. At least until I complete a first draft. But....where's the off switch?

That concludes my writing rambling of the day. I look forward to some thoughts and input.


Duckie said...

Hey nikki...perfectionism isn't a bad thing...mostly frustrating. I read somewhere that when you write something and have urge to edit it immediately, set it aside for a little bit. Don't look at it, or think about. Give your brain a break from the story and it's characters. When you come back you'll have a fresher mind to revise. It won't feel so forced.
I tried this with one of my MS' and it worked well.

Brenda said...

Nikki this can be a common frustration for writers--perfectionism.
The best advice I can give to you is have the whole novel written--rough--before you start receiving crits. This way you won't be as tempted to keep editing the same chapters over and over.
Okay, so you're stuck on chap 2. This could possibly be because you haven't started the story in the right spot. If you have a general idea what you want to happen in your story, maybe move onto chap 3 and see what happens.

Tabitha Blake said...

I am a big perfectionist and it can be very daunting at times. My first ms I was go excited I couldn't wait to get crits and find out what everyone thought. Big mistake. I ended up editing and rewriting over and over again. Now I have come to realized I need to finish my rough draft first. Then on to crits. My problem was I was still trying to figure out my story and then I had all these opinions and ideas being tossed at me. I lost my focus on what my story was about. My original vision of the story got lost along the way and I was hitting a brick wall. Needless to say I put that story on the back burner and started a new one. I was so frustrated I didn't want to write it any more. Some say crits help them but for me I need to know my story before I get others advice. Now I do brain storm with my crit partners if I am stuck. But I am lucky to have crit partners that try to ask me the right questions and make me figure out the problem instead of telling me what I need to do. I think everyone is different and you have to find what works for you. Its funny my crit partners know I am a revision fanatic and they make sure I keep writing and don't go back to revise until I am done. Hope this helps.

Sheri Fredricks said...

I tried pantsing - it got me frustration and 9 chapters into nowhere. I was so pissed I contemplated quitting writing all together. Now I'm plotting every step of the way before I write a single word. I'm excited and can FEEL the story unfold; the direction is being mapped out. When I have it all written up, I'll look for crits then. Good luck with your MS! It's the journey, not the destination - right?

Sara said...

I don't outline or do any substantial plotting either. But then I NEVER let anyone read my work until I have it in its final draft form—I’m constantly changing things and crits would only hinder my creativity and destroy my voice. I know by the end what my story is and who and what my characters sound like. I use crits as part of the revision/editing process, not the writing process.
I think you need to move to the next chapter. Leave Chapter 2 fester for a while. If you are a pantser, you may not have found the missing "Ta Da" in chp 2 because you haven't thought up that bit of the plot yet. Four chapters from now, you could very well write a scene and go "Ah that's what I needed to bring up in Chp 2!" I've gone back often and completely rewritten the first three chapters because these chapters are usually my weakest---why? Because I'm still getting to know my characters and their story.

Nikki said...

I appreciate everyone's thoughts! I need to set myself some good goals for next year and really hunker down and kick my butt into writing gear again! Thanks to everyone who stopped by and commented :)