Thursday, October 02, 2008

The rough draft fail-safe

Usually I write my rough drafts all the way through before going back to edit.  But, every so often, (okay, probably more than that) my brain refuses to cooperate and the muse refuses to lift a finger.  So, when it's clear nothing is coming and will not come even if I sit there and stare at the wall for 33 minutes, I go back and edit.  Don't really want to edit.  In fact, I'd rather sit on the couch, stuff my face with chocolate chip cookie dough, and watch History International until inspiration hits me.  

But, alas, when the big engine fails, the fail-safe kicks in and keeps the machine rolling.  Yeah, I'm not actually moving forward when it comes to the the rough draft, but I am fixing things and making my job easier and shorter down the road.  Things is, usually, when I go back and edit, I find my voice and words again -- so this little trick usually does the, er, trick.  Heh.

So what do you guys do when the words won't come? 


Rebecca said...

Draw. When I'm writing papers and I can't seem to figure out how to say what I want to say or even what I want to say to begin with, I default to drawing or beating on metal and welding it together. (Although the writing I do is vastly different from your more awesome kind of writing... ;) ) Maybe you should try drawing your characters or something or a scene.

Jax Cassidy said...

I can't write anything all the way through. My muse likes me to write until I'm stumped, then I go over the scene and when she's satisfied, I can move onto the next part of my's so draining!

Tia Nevitt said...

I either do the same thing as you do, or I work on a short story (if the muse has provided me with one). Sometimes, all I need to do is go through the draft again to trigger an idea. It's how I managed to come up with what I think is a kick-ass ending for my latest novel.

Anonymous said...

not sure how i found your blog . . . but am enjoying it :) when i can't write, when i just sit here and the things coming out of my fingers and landing on the screen are clunkers, i just do something else - bike ride, clean, blog, or (my personal favorite) snack! i usually write in three or four hour spans. i have such awe for the 8 hour a day writers. then again i have several other jobs to support my writing habit these days :)

K. said...

That's a good suggestions, Beck! I'll have to try that. :)

Jax -- that is exactly how I wrote the first four of my books!

Going through the draft again is a great idea, Tia! I've had a few "lightning moments" that way.

Hi Kate! Welcome! :D I totally get the cleaning thing. I do that, too sometimes. I also clean when I'm upset . . . but that a whole 'nother blog post! Lol.

Anonymous said...

My latest novel draft went this way. I got halfway through and was completely blocked. I went back, worked on revisions and editing of the first half, and then the second half just kind of came to me and I was able to finish it. I think going back and reminding myself of what I was trying to do and what I'd set up in the first half helped me know what to do and what threads needed to be continued to completion in the second.