This weekend saw me make a start on my proposed novel by setting up certain sections, and searching out some background material I’ll need. This can be a fun part of writing, but also, a distracting part now that we all have access to the WWW. So when I start a project, I like to get as much of the background and research done as soon as possible. Names, places, character ideas. Plot points, outline, anything I think I’ll need to keep me on track, and not distracted.
Which is why I’m going to write this one in Scrivener, a writing software that’s a little more than the name suggests. It offers a way to keep all your research and writing in one place. And while the program itself can, at times, seem a little overblown, with maybe one or two more bells and whistles than seems necessary, I thought I’d give it a try this time around. Given I’ve had the software for quite a while now.
So late yesterday evening, in a moment of clarity, I sat down and wrote about a 1000 words for the prologue. It was a thing of beauty to let it just flow out of me. Of course, this morning, in the cold light of day, when I go to reread it later, it may turn out to be an utter load of crap … well, you get the picture. [note: you can read the prologue here.]
The problem for me, as an editor, is second guessing every word, every sentence, every paragraph, and over editing everything written the day before so that, in the end, I wonder if I’ll ever finish a single chapter, let alone an entire novel. I can nitpick to the point of driving myself crazy, and have to go through a process, before writing, whereby I effective take the editor in me, and imprison her in a quiet corner of my mind (figuratively speaking). So that writer me can get on with the task in hand. Writing—undistracted by an editorial harpy screaming: you missed that typo, what are you thinking!
It’s very unhelpful having editor me and writer me arguing it out while I stare at the black screen wondering whether these two parts of me will come to blows over a simple typo, and wreck a morning’s worth (or afternoon worth) of writing. There’s a psychological trick to getting editor me to go away while writer me does her thing. And that doesn’t involve a figurative black-eye.
Ah, don’t you just love the writing life—fisticuffs at dawn by warring segments of your own psyche.
Welcome to my world for the next few months.