Saturday, November 12, 2011

What I Didn't Know Then

What I Didn’t Know Then

Hello. Welcome to my blog. Per usual, coffee, tea, and donuts are set out on the side table. Help yourselves.

Today I would like to talk about a few things. First, for those of you who don’t know, I’ve finally sent out queries for my novel, Love’s Prophecy. Yay for me! LOL, took me long enough, but I wanted to make sure I had my MS, query, and synopsis as polished as “I” could get them. I guess time will tell.

Since I have queries out in the great wide world, I’ve finally started my second novel in the series. Another yay for me, hehehehe. And this brings me to the topic I’d like to discuss.

The title to my blog says: What I didn’t know then. What I mean by this is what I didn’t know back when I wrote the rough draft for my first novel was in a strange way a blessing.

Okay, let me explain further. As I’m writing my second novel, I’m having a rough time...well, writing. I know who my characters are, what they need to do, the conflict, most of the middle, the climax, and the resolution. I know more about what it takes to write a book this time around. I know the first chapter should JUMP OFF THE PAGE AND SMACK THE READER IN THE FACE! I know what deep point of view is—LOL, or maybe I should say I know what point of view is this time. I know how to sprinkle back story effectively. I know not to clutter my writing with unnecessary words. I know not to start too many sentences with a gerund because that screams amateur. I’ll stop the list here because it could go on and on.

So, if I know all of this, then why in the world am I having a bitch of a time writing? I’ll tell you what I think the problem is.

When I decided to write way back when, I didn’t know anything! I mean I knew nothing about writing. All I knew was I needed to write this story. I lived and breathed writing. And after three months, I had a completed rough draft. The sad thing was I didn’t even know it was called a rough draft.

I didn’t worry about passive, telling/showing, which word was best, etc, etc. My characters spoke to me so damn loud and I simply wrote what they told me.

In essence, I didn’t have an internal editor—okay, I did but she was dormant.

Now that my internal editor has been woken up I can’t seem to shut her off. With each sentence I write in my new WIP I agonize over word choice, sentence structure, passive, active…grrrrrr, it’s driving me nuts! All I want is for her to go back to sleep and allow me to listen to my characters and just WRITE! Is that too much to ask?

You know what it reminds me of? It reminds me of when I was little and the intense excitement I felt Christmas Eve night. And now that I’m older, I miss those days terribly. Well, I miss those days of writing when I was clueless. The pure innocence, the way I could pound out two chapters a day! Sure, I had a ton of edits later, but as the old saying goes, you can’t edit blank pages.

Have any of you gone through this?

Until next month, happy writing.


Lia Davis said...

I know exactly how you feel! I too recently sent my first MS out into the world in search of a home. :) And I'm starting the second in the series. Well I'm a little more than 17K into the story and I'm having a hard time just getting the words down. I don't want to revise it as much as I did the first one.(two complete rewrites before I knew what I was doing and tons of revisions from my CP after I learned what writing was. lol). I'm still fighting with my internal editor to just let me write the dang story.

Anonymous said...

When I wrote my second MS, I would re-write what I'd written the day before, then start on the new stuff. With the third, I had so much to do to keep the story line together, my internal editor only bothered with that part. I'm on my forth and I think it went on holiday.

Brenda said...

LOL, Lia, thanks sooo much for your comment--makes me feel a little better to know you know exactly what I'm talking about.
I too had so many dang rewrites with my first that I guess I don't want a repeat performance.
Logically I know my second won't be as rough as my first because this time around I know more, but I guess inside I'm afraid if I don't get this rough as clean as I can, then I'll be spending another year editing.
Thanks for stopping by.

Brenda said...

Ella, that's exactly what I'm doing now--I fix what I've written before I move on--but I don't want to do that, I want to write and edit later. I hope this process gets easier with each book I write.
Thanks for stopping by!

Christine Warner said... just diagnosed my problem! Put that keyboard away and get to med school girl! lol

You said it all that I know it's my internal editor that was dormant, maybe it'll help shake things loose and I'll be able to write without overthinking each step.

I'm so with you, I just miss that I wrote. I still love to write, but now it's more of a serious matter...does that make sense!

Great post today!

Brenda said...

LOL, Christine, you're awesome. I'll save the med school for my oldest son--he's the one with the super brain.

Our dang internal editors want to run the show, but we have to be able to shove her back into that door in our minds and lock it!!! LOL, if I figure out how I'll let ya know--and if you figure it out, let me know.
There has to be a way for us to beat her at her own game.

And yes, I still love to write too, but you said it perfectly when you said: but now it's more of a serious matter.

Thanks for stopping by!

Sheri Fredricks said...

Writing for the sheer joy of it. No filters on our brain, no rules to follow. Just let our fingers fly over the keyboard and create. Ahhh...the good ol' days.

Sentence structure, hook endings, perfecting the perfect scene. It takes some of the fun out of it - but not all.

Like your Christmas Eve example. It's still exciting, just not the same as when we were naive.

Great post. Makes me think about things, Brenda.

Brenda said...

*Sigh* I guess nothing can ever stay the same.
I seriously do miss the innocence of writing when I was clueless, LOL. But, I had so many edits, rewrites...yikes, maybe it is best that I agonize over the rules this time. Yeah, maybe my internal editor isn't the enemy I thought she was, but the least she bloody well could do is shut her yap until I at least finish each chapter. Then I wouldn't mind her stepping up to the plate.

Thanks for stopping by, Mike!

Lisa Kumar said...


I had the exact same problem after writing my first MS! I went from being clueless to having all these "rules" floating around my head. That new knowledge stifled me so much that I was afraid to even write, sure I would screw up every sentence someway.

I finally had to give myself permission to write. Good or bad writing--it didn't matter, as long as I got words down on the screen. And you know what? It wasn't usually that bad! But even when it was, I knew I was still getting a lot more done than by simply staring at the screen.

Like you said, you can't edit blank pages;) Great post, btw!

Casea Major said...

Brenda- I read this great book about writing and she said we should all give ourselves permission to write a shitty first draft. I didn't understand what she meant when I wrote my first book last year because it was perfection. Ha! Now that I'm trying to fix all that's wrong I realize - not so much. But it's easier when you don't know what you don't know. And until what you don't know becomes second nature as it probably is for Ms. Roberts or Mr.King, I think we should do like the lady said, and give ourselves permission to write shitty first drafts.

You go first and tell me how it works out. LOL

Brenda said...

Lisa, so far today I've written 500 words--and I didn't go back and re-read them and tweak them, LOL. I will tomorrow, but I'm aiming to finish this chap today!

I've talked to myself and decided to write good or bad--like you said, give myself permission to just write!

Thanks so much for stopping by!

Brenda said...

Casea, LOL, well, so far I'm trying to simply just write. It's tough as pulling teeth!!

*sigh* I do hope one day all these rules become second nature and when I write they naturally are applied, hehehehe. Right now I'm obsessing over them.

Thanks for stopping by!

Martha ramirez said...

Great post! And yay for u for sending queries out! I think ur right. Worrying about whether you're following the guidelines could alter ur creativity.
I alwAys try not to worry about that in first draft. But it's so programmed in our heads . I know;)

Brenda said...

Hey, Mart. It is programmed in our heads. I've spent so many months in the editing side of my brain that I'm having a tough time getting into the creative side.
Thanks for stopping by!

Nikki said...

Oh, Brenda- I feel you here. I totally do. I've been there, still there, done that...Yeah.

I wrote a book in 2003 and finished it. It wasn't the first novel I ever completed, but it was the first one I completed geared towards publication. I was serious about it, instead of just writing because I wanted to write a story.

Then I let a few others read it, and let a person who was to be a crit partner read it.

I joined writing groups, got some books on writing, etc. Boy, was I ever naive. Now there's all these "rules", things you should or shouldn't do, blah blah blah.

And I feel it's killed my creative spark, and I too, can't get that internal editor to STFU. I feel so stuck!

I just need to buckle down, with some good quiet time, and write.

Jenna said...

I may have been fortunate (or not) in that I was so gungho about writing that I wrote three complete novels (five if you consider that one will be turned into a trilogy) before any of them ever saw a critique. So I had almost two years of just writing--spilling my guts through the keyboard--which was wonderful.

Since all my CPs have come along the internal editor has awakened and I look for some stuff (like headhopping) but I've given myself permission (as has the editor) to use short hand in the rough draft--like -ing verbs and -ly adverbs--just to get it all down on paper. That permission allows me to experience that unfettered freedom of the first years of writing. So usually when I sit down to write, I just plow through until I finish a chapter. I do go back to the end of the chapter before, edit a little to ease myself into the characters and situation again and then I'm off to the races.

Lord! Just writing about writing has given me a hankering to write! When you get that urge--give in to it!

Excellent post, Brenda!

Zee Monodee said...

I go through this with every story, Brenda - you're not alone. What I find works is this - just write the story like you didn't know all the rules and hoopla. You can always revise/edit afterwards. You just cannot do anything with a blank page. :)

Allison Merritt said...

Brenda, when I first met you on Rom-Critters, I don't know how long you'd been writing, but let me say that every time you gave me advice on writing (I'd only been back at it a few months at that point and forgotten everything I'd ever learned about writing), it was dead on.

They say writing the second novel can be a lot more difficult that writing the first. I don't think I went through that because I attempted my second during NaNoWriMo. I never finished it (and I'm pretty sure it's awful), but I move right into The Treasure Hunter's Lady and thank God for good critique partners because it needed all the help it could get.

You'll get there with your second. I know it'll be just as good as the first. Can't wait to see some chaps from it!