Tag: learning how I write

In Which I Break Promises

I’ve made you promises I can’t keep.  I’ve been working at plot development and character analysis and even made my first attempt at the first chapter of Baby Girl Six.  I was so excited by the idea of publishing a monthly chapter.  I thought it would shake me up a little and force me to – I don’t know – learn to writer better fast perhaps?  Here’s the thing (this is where I give you an untidy bunch of roses even though sunflowers are your favorite) I am not a good enough writer to slap a chapter down and publish it without regret.  Remember that time we were up at three in the morning and I was drunk off my ass but you were just sober enough to remember everything I said?  It’s like that.  Once I show you a chapter I won’t be able to scrape it out of your head to make it better.  You will always remember the horrible first draft quality like you remember my most unguarded and ugly confessions made unintentionally under the influence.

What I learned from writing both The Winter Room and Cricket and Grey is that apparently I don’t write great first chapters because in both cases the first chapter was the most rewritten one of all and it was worth the rewrites.  If I was Charles Dickens I might be able to do a serialized book keeping to deadlines and writing chapters that read like 7th drafts… but in spite of some insistent chin hairs attempting to masculate me, I do not have Charles Dickens’ chops.

I was going to try out this serialized book idea using Baby Girl Six because of all the story pitches I came up with that one seemed the most ridiculous and I wasn’t very attached to it.  The more I worked on Six’s character analysis and the more I worked on designing the story and the other characters the more attached I grew.  I sat down this morning to furiously tap out the first damn chapter and post it no matter what.  But I kept thinking about Six and how much I needed time to develop her more and how it will probably take 10 tries at the first chapter to set the mood of the whole book right.  First drafts are crappy affairs.  I don’t want to publish any first drafts.  So I’ve decided I’m not going to.

I know I made promises and when I made them I really meant to keep them.  I understand if you need to rethink our relationship now.  It’s not that I don’t love you – in fact it’s because I love you too much that I need to protect you from my first drafts.

Look, if you can foot the bill I’ll happily go to therapy with you.

Update:  So I tell Philip how I’ve decided that you deserve only the best and how I’m totally chickening out on putting out there something that might be pretty rough and he, naturally, thinks I should do it anyway.  He says that writing chapters and throwing them up on the blog even though they’re only first or second drafts is like throwing them on a big ugly clipboard and I can go back and replace the originals with better versions later like a living morphing story – like a book being written in real time for my readers to see evolving… I hate it when he does that.  He says this will probably make me a better writer faster and is a good exercise.  Which is what I originally thought and was the reason I was going to do it.  Damn him.  I always knew he was trouble!