Thursday, October 25, 2012

Not discouraged, but still intimidated.

I've told this story before, but it is so apropos to where I'm at right now, that it bears repeating.

Back when I was reading books about writing, I read one about or by Erle Stanley Garner, the creator of Perry Mason.

The how-to showed a full example of a Perry Mason short story.  It was pretty good.  Not bad.  I liked it.  I could have read it and enjoyed it without thinking anymore of it.

But Garner then tweaks it, and writes a second draft and it's much better -- twice as good.  And I think, yeah, that's the way it should have been.

Then he writes a third draft, with a final turbo twist and it's magnitudes better!

It was a real eye opener for me.  It taught me that there are probably always ways to tweak a story, and that the story isn't done until you've found that 'turbo twist.'

This means that the first draft of I'm Only Human, which I arm-twisted people into reading, was nowhere near good enough, though I thought it was at the time.  It seems to be a step I have to go through to get to the next stage. (The same is no doubt true of The Reluctant Wizard, but I'll face that when it's time.)

And it means I probably need to ramp it up at least one more time before it is ready to attempt to try to think about possibly considering the potential idea of contemplating the ... you get the idea.

Anyway, over the last week, I've found so many ways to improve I'm Only Human, that I feel I'm at about where that second Perry Mason draft was -- twice as good, but still not there.  I mean, I like it, but I want to get it even better.

If I can write the one more burst of improvement, find the turbo tweak, it could make the book a legitimate contender.

If I have to completely rewrite some stuff, then so be it.

I'm going to need to make the tone consistent all the way through, ramp up the urgency.

There are probably going to be all kinds of discrepancies.  Lots and lots of them.

Best thing to do is just cut anything that doesn't fit and try to put stuff back in later.

I think I would be more discouraged, and intimidated, if it didn't all seem to "fit."  It's like, "Oh, that was meant to be there all along!"  "Oh, that's the reason that happened."  "Oh, there's a good explanation for that, which helps answer a bunch of other stuff too."

It's almost as if the book exists and I'm just finding different parts of it at different times.

To me, the book is now at least twice as good as it was just a week ago.

So no reason to get discouraged.

Though I am still intimidated.


Duncan McGeary said...

Such a messy process.

By writing this in real time as I'm working on the book, it's really obvious that I simply delude myself every step of the way.


Martha said...

Reading about your process helps keep my brain in check.

Also, it's just cool.

Thanks. :)