And so I try to keep writing. As anyone who knows me knows my mantra: Just hold your nose and write.
So what AM I writing now? As I wait for NIGHT NIGHT, SLEEP TIGHT to come back with copyedits, I'm starting something new. Writing "page 1" has its own challenges. Right now I'm in the throes of throwing (throe/throw... ACK) a new main character on the page. Sometimes it feels like I'm slapping a mound of clay on a potter's wheel and seeing how the thing shapes up. Building order from chaos...
Loving the premise.
Word count zero. Start writing.
First draft, opening scene:
Vanessa awoke in terror...."NO NO NO!." The writing teacher in me howls. Thou canst not open with a character waking up from a dream. Cliche cliche cliche. Not to mention that it's a huge tell. To paraphrase, don't just say she "awoke in terror," put her on the page and let her quake.
Plus why start AFTER something has happened and have to immediately pull the reader into back story?
Slap own wrist. Start an OUT file. Dump what I've written into it. Save.
Word count still zero. Start over:
It was nearly midnight when Vanessa pulled into the nearly empty parking lot behind the Milborne Inn. She parked under the one streetlight in the vast and nearly empty parking lot and looked across at minimalist 50's brick that had a whole lot more in common with your average motel off I-95 than it did with a country inn.
She got out of her car and locked the door. Mist had settled over piles of melting snow plowed into the far corners of the lot, optimistically cleared for crowds that had dwindled since a new conference center was built a few miles away, downtownSo this is better, but still I'm thinking, Is this weather? Because rule says you can't open with weather. And something had better happen soon or this reader is baling. Or is it bailing?
Time out to check with my friend Merriam Webster... which it turns out these days is Merriam-Webster (hyphenated) while my ancient 6-inch thick dictionary on my office floor gathering dust is "Webster's Third International Dictionary." Must have been a merger.
You get the idea. The world of this writer is a messy place fraught with detours that do not add to the word count. No wonder it took me two years to write my last book.
Can you just sit down at the computer, put on blinders and WRITE? Or are you like me, your own worst enemy when it comes to wracking up word count? I try to hold my nose and just keep writing. Really I do.