For a long while, I’ve been completely focused on editing. On Sunday, I finally managed to finish another round of edits on Resisting Wonderland, and I’ve sent my MS to a few test readers. I’m nervous, but I’m excited to hear what they have to say about the project I’ve been raising since August 2009. But that isn’t what this blog is about.
Since I finished my edits, I decided to start my long awaited third novel for the Resistance series - it will complete the trilogy. I’ve been waiting to start it for such a long time, and even with my extended break, I expected to jump straight back into my usual writing patterns. For some reason, that didn’t happen.
At first, I was confused. I thought writing was like a bicycle, and that I would never forget. I hadn’t worked on a manuscript since December, and even though this was the longest break I’d ever taken between MSs since I started writing my first series, I still thought it would be natural. As I was writing, something kept tugging at me. It was making me stutter and start in my writing. I thought it might be how much rested on this final novel, or my nervousness at sitting down to write it.
It took a whole day for me to realise what exactly had been bugging me about writing. I was still stuck in my editing mode. When I was writing yesterday, I kept thinking about sentences, grammar, dialogue – I was over-thinking. As a rule, I don’t over-think these things in a first draft; I work on them during editing, as I’m only trying to get the novel in a basic shape. Recently I’ve spent so much time editing and focusing on that mindset, I was putting pressure on myself when I didn’t have to. I needed to change my process.
As soon as I realised this, I tried again to work on my MS. This time, there was no resistance or restraint. All I did was type the words which my characters wanted me to. I thought about the narrative and nothing else. It worked wonders. It took me less than an hour to complete the chapter, when it had taken so much back and forth to type the night previously. I relaxed into writing, and I changed my thoughts from editing to writing.
The processes of writing and editing are two separate things. I have two entirely different systems in how I deal with each of them, and trying to edit whilst I write simply does not work for me. I have to have that first draft down before I try to tackle those small details. I need to see the bigger picture.
Hopefully, writing in that aspect will be much easier for me now I’ve realised where I was going wrong. It’s my sixth novel, and the first novel of the new year. It’s going to be an incredible one to write. My only vice is how emotional it will be, as I’ve already found out. The first chapter almost made me cry. There are events in this novel, and the way Alice deals with what has already happened in the previous novels, which are difficult for me to write about. It’s her pain, and since it’s in first person perspective – as well as holding a special affinity for her as my first ever MC – it’s hard to be so involved and not feel her pain as I write it. I want this novel to be as true to her character and the plot as possible. Basically, I have to stay true to how Alice’s story will end. If that means a few tears along the way, I’ll gladly keep a stack of tissues on hand.
So, I have two questions for you. Firstly, have you ever had trouble separating the different processes of writing? And secondly, have you ever gotten emotional when writing?