There’s an urban legend among Wrimos that Week 2 is the hardest. You’ve survived a whole week of writing, got through the beginning, and now you have to get down to the story. The glimmer has faded and the nitty-gritty has moved in.
Maybe it’s because my story will by no means be finished in 50,000 words, but my 2nd week was a breeze. A contributing factor is probably because all of my favorite characters showed up, or because I finally got to the scene I had been planning since the beginning. In any case, I maintained my momentum through last week and am still ahead of my personal daily goals.
Week Three, on the other hand, is having difficulty getting started.
Again, it’s probably because, at 44,000-odd words, my story has only just finally settled down. According to my outline, I’m coming up on the first culmination, which will reveal (unbeknownst to my MC) a Very Important Person and segway beautifully into the darkest moment, where pretty much every other living creature possessing any relevance to the MC dies, probably horrifically. Also, everything else goes wrong.
Considering my only deaths thus far have been innocent bystanders in distant cities and a couple of evil dragons, I’m doing pretty well with my death toll.
It must be this “first culmination” that’s getting to me. Until recently (the last year-and-a-half or so), I hadn’t written with plot and character development in mind. I just told stories. I didn’t care where they went or if they were crafted according to story building guidelines. I’m still not positive what a character arc is.
I have a feeling I’m turning myself into an editor’s worst nightmare.
The next few chapters are going to be key to the story. For once I’m pushing my comfort zone and trying to raise the stakes, and I’m starting to panic a little. I don’t want to hurt anyone. I only just decided where everyone will be at the end of this story, and I don’t like the picture. But deep down I know there has to be a price for my characters to get where they want and need to be.
This is the bittersweetness of a first draft: trying to put your vision to paper and realizing it’s not quite that simple, but having to accept it because that’s the only way to refine the story.
Weird how I learn so much about life through the writing process.
I’m a perfectionist at heart, no matter how I try to deny it. I’m a control freak. I like to think I’m smart enough to avoid most failures.
Which is probably how I’m the only licensed driver in my family who every caused an accident.
What I’m learning is to accept the failures as part of the process. I’m starting, slowly, to grasp the concept that things rarely come out perfectly the first time, and most things require some effort and trial-and-error. Such knowledge is doing a number on my psyche.
Mostly, I’m learning to accept my faults. I’m realizing that faults are not always things that can be overcome and destroyed; that sometimes they are with us all our lives and we have to learn to work with them.
How does everything always turn so philosophical? I wasn’t intending to pursue this topic until December.
As I mostly just wanted to pop in and prove I’m both alive and fairly well, I think I’ll sign off now so I can come back to this thought and still have something left.
Until 50,000, then!