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Addendum: 2008 isn't over yet...

Rampion in the Belltower is now up as a podcast over at Dunesteef! After dreams of being chased by evil robots all night, it was refreshing to revisit medieval zombies--mostly because they aren't on-screen too much. Phew.

Also, I totally failed to reflect on how 2008 was a great year for me, writing-wise, because I increased my flexibility so much. Here are my favorite lessons of the year. Feel free to embrace or ignore them as you find it helpful.

1) When critiquing, a big dose of "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" is always advisable. i.e., never tell a writer they're doing it wrong if the wrongness works, or does not hinder the rest of the story. <--also applies to own work.

2) Kill all your precious rule-darlings. And everyone else's.

3) It's perfectly okay to switch person if it will get the story finished and out of you. (See #2) (This is how I'm going to rewrite Brook's book, without going insane--someday.)

4) It's not just about giving yourself permission to write badly. It's also about giving yourself permission to write well. To do rolling revisions if you want. To produce a semi-perfect first draft because rewriting kills you.

5) Your procedure can change with the month, week or day, if it needs to. If today you need the lamp on your right on, and the lamp on your left off, turn the lamps on or off, and write. Tomorrow, you can have the lamps how you want, too. Even if it's both off. Likewise, "I have to write at least a thousand words a day" is great for a week, but next week, maybe it needs to be a hundred.

6) If it's not hard, that doesn't mean you're writing crap, just like when it's hard, it doesn't mean you're writing crap. The hardness has no correlation to the crapness for you, thus far.

I feel like there was more, but those are the big ones that come up when I think about this year. Huge break-throughs, each one of them.

Scary that that's what constitutes a break-through for me, hm?


( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 28th, 2008 10:05 pm (UTC)

These are all great lessons.
Dec. 28th, 2008 11:09 pm (UTC)
Erm...great lessons. Esp. 2. And I like 6.
Dec. 28th, 2008 11:53 pm (UTC)
Those are excellent lessons, especially 6--a corollary of which is that your judgment about the quality of whatever you're writing in the moment you're writing it generally does not correlate to the writing's actual quality. I.e., if I'm having a great time writing and I think I'm writing something fantastic, it may be dreck, and if I'm slogging along and think the work sucks, it may be excellent.
Dec. 29th, 2008 04:23 pm (UTC)
Definitely agree with point 6! it is so hard to tell when it's good - and when it's not. As you say, the hardness of the writing process doesn't seem to correlate at all. Have a great new year with lots of excellent writing!
Dec. 30th, 2008 09:14 am (UTC)
To produce a semi-perfect first draft because rewriting kills you.

Rewrite doesn't kill me, but I find that if I don't sweat the first draft, I just have to sweat the second draft. I.e., there's nothing gained. The work to make it as good as I can make it has to be done some time. There's no advantage in putting it off to the second draft.
Dec. 31st, 2008 04:47 am (UTC)
Ah, now *that's* an interesting data point. Perhaps that's how I should reframe it for myself...

I mean, there are the occasions when I need to finish something before I can figure out how to fix it, but that's different than when I figure out how I broke it half-way through.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

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