Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Focus, or lack of....

I've been out of focus lately. Mostly because I'm on that first draft and it's just plain draining. I think one of the hardest parts is keeping the focus on creation and not perfection. While I'm creating, I often feel surges of emotion, of ecstasy, of brilliance. You know it when you feel it--those moments when you've just unlocked some great mystery hidden inside your story--something you didn't even know was lurking there beneath the text. Or you hit the nail on the head with the chemistry which up to that point in the draft you'd been penciling in, but never capturing. Those times are amazing.

But for the other countless moments, it's hard, grueling work. Conceiving an entire, well thought out book from a few random ideas or images is difficult at best, impossible at worst. A lot of the time it feels like you're writing cover copy for the back of a cereal box. The characters are place holders because you don't know them yet, the story structure is flimsy, the details painfully vague. And it's hard to get up and at it day after day when this is what you're faced with. Don't forget there's generally a devil on your shoulder telling you that you're a one-book wonder. Or your readers are all going to flock to someone better as soon as they start this drivel.

But to get to the second draft, you have to get through the first one. And in the second draft, things become more coherent. You discover that those places when the words felt wooden are actually pretty good and with a little polish and a little foreshadow, they could be great.

It's all a process. Very few things are created perfectly the first time. There's always room for revision. Even when a book is sold, there are revisions. A book an editor absolutely LOVED and couldn't wait to buy, will still get edits. It's the nature of the beast.

So I'm going to get back to it. Focus, Erin, focus...

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