"I would hurl words into this darkness and wait for an echo, and if an echo sounded, no matter how faintly, I would send other words to tell..."
- Richard Wright
Today, I wrote three chapters of Naked Eye. I think there are only four more to go, and one will be short. But who knows? I’m a panster. The nice thing about being a panster is that your manuscript is forever surprising you. I find myself thinking:
Oh that’s why she was so secretive.
If I add this scene, it will tie into that one from the earlier chapter.
I had no idea he felt that way.
Hopefully if the writer is surprised, my someday readers will REALLY be surprised.
As I mentioned the other day, this is my sixth manuscript. Each manuscript has had its own set of problems:
1) Tell instead of show.
2) Age of protagonist. Tell instead of show.
3) Slow plot. Tell instead of show.
4) Too many dialogue tags and adverbs. Vampire story.
5) The word “that” cropped up EVERYWHERE. Preachy.
6) Overuse of “really”. (She is a teen.)
One weakness I possess is sentences. I’ve been told to vary lengths, watch dashes, and so on. With each book, I get better. Last winter and spring, I spent many hours pouring through books on grammar.
Manuscript #6 has taken me the longest to write. I got the idea for it last spring break. Next week it’s spring break again. For EVERY other manuscript before this one, I churned out a rough draft in SIX WEEKS. Last spring break, I wrote the first five pages. Then nothing else for months because I was in the middle of revising manuscript #5 and revisiting manuscript #1.
This fall, I returned to Naked Eye. I got about 18k done. Then I got a full-time job. I wrote in stops and starts, (more stops than starts). Last year, I projected it would be 50k. Today, I dusted off the manuscript and wrote three chapters, and am up to 52,410. Now I believe it will be closer to 60k.
I can’t wait to see how this thing ends.
And I wonder if writing slowly will make it less rough of a rough draft. Since this is the first manuscript I’ve written from scratch since reading all those books on writing and grammar, I also wonder if my writing is more polished in general. Having two short stories accepted has given me more confidence. Have I finally figured it all out for manuscript #6?
Future critique buddies will let me know soon enough. (English majors a plus.)
How about you?
What mistakes have you made?
What have you learned from them?