So anyway, I’ve signed up for a “Plot Master Class” led by an editor from one of the big publishers, and I can’t get myself to work on the MS needed to prep for the course.
Why? In fact, why³?
1. Why did I sign up? Mostly because I didn’t know in advance that I’d need to come with a bookmap of a completed MS, but also because the editor and I are fellow alumnae of a midwestern college and I was hoping for a magical IN with her. Also because I suspect this type of deadline is the only thing that will get me to write (see §2 below).
2. Why am I not making progress on the MS? Mostly because I fear it will be crap (where’s the bleeping ON/OFF switch for that infernal internal editor?), but also because I’ve discovered I’d rather read than write. I’ve read 5 hefty books in the past week, but written only 5 pages.
3. Why did I decide last Tuesday that I need to paint my apartment? My office stuff is now mixed up with my dining room stuff (cf. Jack Donaghy’s Sadnesses Scavenger Hunt), the plasterer has completed his task, and tomorrow I buy the paint. I can manage only one room a month, so it isn’t a total disaster, but I still think I could have planned this better.
Spring semester starts tomorrow, and perhaps that will be to my benefit. There’s one thing worse than writing, and that’s planning for my classes (humble apologies to current and former students — not your fault, most definitely all my own).
I have about 8 weeks to write and revise another 30K words and create the bookmap (I’m actually looking forward to that). Once more unto the mess, dear friends, once more …
Isn’t that internal editor both a blessing and a curse. You need it to push you to write your best but if it’s not kept in check it destroys your self confidence and stops you from writing. I like to keep mine in a locked box until first edit. I find the manuscript progresses better that way.
Good luck with the master class. Remember, if your manuscript was perfect you wouldn’t learn a thing, so just prepare it the best you can.
Thanks, Dylan. Your reminder about perfection came just in time. I’m going out right now to lasso my internal editor and make it behave.
Your Plot Master Class leader would have a green fit with purple spots at my writing method regarding plots – which is not to have one. My characters do their thing, and what happens happens. Ironically enough, I have received a number of compliments on my meticulous plotting …
Colonialist — I’ll save her a series of colorful fits and not tell her about you! It sounds like you’re a pantser rather than a planner. I’m a firm believer in whatever works, and pantsing works for me as well. I’m not planning to change my methods, only to be able to understand better what “works” and why. Also, I’ve decided to use a MS completed in 2011 but not yet sent out into the world. This relieves the pressure to finish my current project (still moving slowly) in the next 2 weeks, AND, the older one is so full of holes that even I can see them — but not how to fix them. I’ve been putting off the necessary analysis, but that ends today!
That plan really seems like good thinking. Not least in offering a motheaten plot to provide her with a real sense of challenge and purpose!
One just hopes the end product won’t look even more ventilated.