Working with What I've Got

Okay, yes, this is another blog post about my writing journey. It's what I'm thinking about most right now, so it's what I'm writing about. Maybe when it's done, you'll get a blog post about the deck I'm building, but for now, this is what you get.

A lot of the story I'm reading right now was written in 2007. I signed up for NaNoWriMo to write book 2, which was kind of funny, because I hadn't finished book 1 yet, so I spent a lot of October hurrying through that draft.

It was good. It got a lot of the uncertainty out of my way, a lot of the going back-and-forth about which characters should be doing what, and when.

I've heard it said a lot recently that the best thing a first draft can do is exist, because then you have something to work with. But the problem is when you talk yourself out of going back over what you've written and making it better, what you have is a first draft you've hurried through and left on the desk.

Not that that's a bad thing. I'm liking a lot of what I wrote so far, but what I'm looking at now is chapters out of order (because it was more expedient to just sort them however the hell I did ten years ago), and no real idea why they're ordered that way.

I accept the blame for this. Past-me was full of zeal to get through the first draft of one story to get to getting through the first draft of the next story. There's something noble in that, but it's been a long time, and I'm a little concerned.

I think I lost a chapter. Or at least, I think I meant to have a chapter that I don't actually have.

Maybe I changed my mind and thought it would be better to bury that point-of-view later on in the narrative, or maybe I thought it was extraneous, but what the hell happened to the part where the guy sends the guys to do the thing? I've just written the chapter where they do the thing, but there's no real reason for them to do it. I think.

The thing is, if I removed that chapter, then the writing I did to hint at the edges of it is actually pretty good, but if I go back and explain the whole thing later on, all that subtlety will be meaningless. And that's one thing I've got to work on.

They say, "Show, don't tell." Apparently, I say the hell with that, and do both. I'll have a pretty good piece of text that hints at something, then I'll just go on and on about it, explaining everything at length, and spoiling what I think is a pretty good bit of hinting.

And I get it. It's hard to know how much to tell the reader. After all, I know everything -- I'm coming up with it -- and it is a first draft, so I should allow myself to get through writing that without the expectation that everything is going to be perfectly set. But that's one of the things I'm going to have to be heavy-handed about is getting rid of the over-explaining that riddles most of my chapters.