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Slow Starts

by Silver James 12 July 2011 One Comment

I’m slow getting started this morning. Not until my second cup of coffee did I remember today is my blog day. YIKES! Definitely having one of those mornings.

RWA Nationals occurred…last week? Okay, like a week and a half ago. I flew home on Sunday, July 3. The flight was…less than stellar. And now, suddenly, another week has slipped by and I can’t tell you why. Okay. Yes, I can. Despite all the projects in various stages littering my desk, hard drive, the Cloud, my imagination, and Iffy’s scissors, I dove head first into a new project. Based upon a meeting with an editor in NYC followed by a marathon session with my agent as we plotted out the next few months of my career, I knew I had to get absolutely manic about my writing once I got home. I try very hard to write every day. Or edit, revise, rewrite, research, plot… But lately, I’d been slow getting started on my writing day. Errands. Laundry. Housework. Reading other author’s words. I didn’t make time for my own.

In addition to the discussions with the editor and my agent, I attended Candace Havens FAST DRAFT IN TWO WEEKS panel. Yes. You read that right. Candy writes her first draft in two weeks. TWENTY PAGES A DAY. Dang! But when one steps back and takes a deep breath, that works out to approximately 5000 words. THAT doesn’t seem so overwhelming. It’s like doubling up on a NaNoWriMo novel. I’d already learned much of what Candy had to say from doing NaNo.

Even wanting to get a fast start to get this project off the ground–I set an August 1 deadline to have the first draft done–I came home and dawdled. I had almost a month. I’d always managed my 50K during NaNo, I had this one whipped. Uhm…no. The beginning was off. The hero was too big a jerk. My heroine was too whiny. So, following Candy’s advice, I jumped to the next scene I knew would happen. That scene didn’t work either. I was ready to throw my hands in the air and toss the project in File 13. (That’s the trash can, FYI.) Instead, I grabbed Iffy and we went to the Gazelle. I’m also trying to quick start my diet and weight loss. Overachiever? Me? Why do you ask? *rolls eyes* Anyway, we hit the Gazelle and I started “cross-country skiing” while staring out the window at a dry Oklahoma summer.

Slowly, the original plot turned over in my head. Slowly, the characters morphed. Slowly, I figured out the heroines motivation. Slowly, I realized I had to not just tug on the heartstrings in this book to make it work, I had to rip them out at the roots. My brain feverish and sweating madly, I grabbed the phone, called my CP, and when I heard her sniffle after a long period of silence, I knew I’d found the right direction.

That was four days ago. I’m not getting my 20 pages a day written, but I’ve written over 10K words on a 55K project. I’ve sketched out the black moment (and I got angry with the hero when I wrote it–Yay! for righteous indignation. Yes, he’s still a jerk, but he’s redeemable), and then the words for the turning point arrived and I wrote almost 3000 words on it yesterday. I’ve made myself cry. I’ve gotten mad. And eventually, I’ll go all melty (I hope), when the hero finally claims the heroine and she realizes just how much he loves her. Oh…and at some point, I need to return to the beginning and show the reader how it all began.

Slow starts CAN lead to happy endings. And now I need to get more coffee, kiss a few frogs to find that prince, and get a bunch more pages written. Do y’all get off to slow starts? If so, what magic wand do you wave to get over them?

One Comment »

  • Kelly Wolf said:

    Darn. This concept is no longer abstract- unfortunately you’ve made it a reality by confirming it here!! 😀

    I love the idea of blowing through the first draft in 2-weeks. My first draft is the internal mess of my story and then I have to get down to the nitty-gritty.

    Maybe once there aren’t any kids or pets in my life I can attempt this!!!

    Thanks for the mind-blowing confirmation that this is possible!

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