Misadventures in Space and Time

Or, Drafting is not a Linear Process



Every time I draft a book it feels like battling the Law of Entropy.  Words are not domestic creatures.  They are wild and spurious and prone to scattering like leaves on a blustery day.  The drafting procedure is like trying to capture those words and lay them out in an organized manner that’s intelligible to others, yet the wind continues to gust.

Hmm, maybe that’s why it’s called a draft….

Writers can run the gamut of pantser (make it up as you go) to planner (get those ducks in a row) and everything in between (poet and didn’t know it).  My process involves taking notes and a timeline and weaving it all into a story.  Yet in spite of that timeline, I find myself jumping back and forth in writing the draft:

Oh yeah, I forgot to include the crucial detail that sets up this event.  You know, the villain’s attack would be more ominous if I foreshadow it first.  And while I’m here I’ll clean up this nearby scene.  Now my research tells me it’s bigger on the inside!

(For the record, I’m not writing any Dr. Who stuff.  But in my End of an Age quadrilogy [trying to coin a new word!] I decided to make reference a couple of times to entrenched sci-fi series.  In Darkness upon the Land it was Star Wars.  Wail of the Tempest had Star Trek.  I will use Whovian comments in the fourth book.  But for the one I’m drafting now?)

Hmm … sounds like a topic for another blog.

Speaking of which, this one looks a lot like a draft.  Disorganized.  Rambling.  Something I should be ashamed to show others.  One genius (I wish I could remember who) once made the observation that first drafts aren’t meant for human consumption.

But I’m putting this mess out there precisely because it represents what we’re talking about.  And some other time, in a more organized fashion, rewriting can be a topic worth visiting.

In the meantime, it’s still drafty in here.

Take Ten


Ever hear of the adage about how writing is ten percent inspiration and ninety percent perspiration?  While the perspiration does help to build compositional muscle, inspiration can actually be spurred by taking certain actions.

Attending conferences helps a lot of people.  Visiting a locale related to one’s muse is useful to some people.  People-watching can spark incentives for other people.

While I have the necessary drive to churn out books, I tend to view blogging as a scenic (AKA filled with potholes) side road that detracts from the journey’s destination.  At the risk of sounding trite, life is a journey.  Potholes and side roads and other hazards are standard features of any trip.

But with the right attitude, they also make the trip more, well, exciting.

A workshop I attended the other night fired up some inspiration for the ol’ blog post.  The presenter, Melanie Peters, is a dynamic individual who has made part of her life’s purpose helping others reach their goals in life.  Her enthusiasm is as genuine as it is contagious.

Want to experience some positive energy?  Go check out her blog at intentergy.

There’s no reason to assume that just because inspiration is only ten percent of the formula, you need to wait for it to fall out of the sky.  Spur it on.  Do something.  And when you discover your zeal becomes infectious and spreads to others, you’ll notice that certain contrary element in your life wasn’t so bad after all.

Wow, this is an amazing pothole….

And Happy Valentine’s Day!