Wandering Around, No Particular Place to Go


So I’m back in Discovery Draft for the rest of the book, and it’s terrible.  I look at it and think, “Explanation, chat, more chat, something happens!, explanation, more chat . . .”  And here’s the really bad part: no antagonist action.  It’s just Nita and Nick trying to sort out the aftermath.   

But then, it’s Discovery Draft.

The good thing about having worked through the first act is that I know it’ll be fine.  That’ll be four thousand drafts from now, but it will be fine.  There’s some comfort in that.  Nora said once (paraphrasing here) that she could fix a bad page but she couldn’t fix a blank page.  The discovery draft is just the first part of the journey, putting the colors on the page, so I’m settling in to admire all the bright, fun scenery as I wander through my story (there’s a dog!).  My mind is actually a fun place to be. 

So I’ll get serious later and remember I have antagonists after I’ve written my next twenty pages of Rab explaining to Nita how Hell works.  

19 thoughts on “Wandering Around, No Particular Place to Go

  1. I wish that everything of yours that made sense but was superfluous and ended up on the cutting room floor could be used in The Crusie Handbook. (Run on sentence because I’m exhausted.)

    I’d buy and read it. Just like the Crazy For You stories.

    And can someArgher please get the original Nora quote. I need that to stop the delaying tactics.

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    1. I looked online, but it looks like it exists in various forms – either she expressed the same idea more than once, or it’s been misremembered.

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        1. Hey, if it helps, you wouldn’t believe the things *I* say I have said but didn’t….

          ?

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    2. I’m pretty sure I heard one interview with her where she said, “I can fix anything but a blank page.”

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    3. I have a vague recollection that she also expressed that sentiment in the delightful documentary about romance writers: Love Between the Covers: http://www.lovebetweenthecovers.com/

      My public library has both the DVD and the streaming version. Love my public library.

      She (Nora) isn’t wrong, but for some of us less disciplined or focused types, wiping the slate clean works better than trying to untangle a knotted mess or clearing away underbrush works better than getting scratched and aggravated looking for roots hidden beneath piles of kindling, thorns, and squashed and rotted berries. (Ha ha: or finding meaning beneath mixed metaphors.)

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  2. I used to be a hard core plotter. I didn’t write anything without an outline, because it felt more efficient, like taking the freeway instead of the back roads. But I’ve learned through 5 and a half manuscripts that even with an outline I have to cut and hack and weed out stuff that looked necessary in a spreadsheet but turned out superfluous in the prose. So I’m giving myself a little more freedom, and also being more forgiving about my first draft. I may not do four thousand drafts 🙂 but a its okay to go into the first draft knowing it will need to be rewritten many times.

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    1. Please post those 20 pages at some point for us. I really like Rab. Almost as much as Max (so I’m really hoping Max doesn’t end up smote.)

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    1. You really wouldn’t. It’s just talking heads.
      The info will end up in the book, it’ll just be dropped in pieces when it’s important for somebody to know it to do something.

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      1. Yes, but they’re Jennifer Crusie talking heads. Even your talking heads are entertaining.

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  3. I write every day. Even if I’m not writing well, I write through it. I can fix a bad page. I can’t fix a blank one.
    Nora Roberts – quoted in USA Today (1998)

    I don’t have time to keep going, but this might be a good place to start the search for this quote, in print. Assuming the quotation site I copied this from got this much right.

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  4. *gasp* A dog? In a Crusie novel? I am shocked. SHOCKED, I say. 😉

    Back in college I used to wander around the city, get thoroughly lost, and THEN open up the map and find my way back. It was a lot more fun exploring that way, and I made some lovely little discoveries.

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  5. Uh, I’d also like to see those twenty pages. Cause they will get cut. And not all of it will get back in. That whole iceberg thing.

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  6. I finally caught up from travel mode and read all the paper edit chapters from last week. It was so fun that I forgot that I was going to drive off the cliff of “not done yet”, and was startled to come to the end!

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  7. Wandering. A necessary stage of the rough draft. We have to look at it from all angles, and think some while we wander. I think you taught me that.

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  8. Wow! I stumbled back in here at an exciting time! I just read most of the pages on Hell and smiting and stuff in that link and it looks very enticing. I quit at one point as I don’t know the characters or plot and don’t want to ruin the eventual read for myself. Had one thought, if you want to get antagonist action into it, could someone briefly burst into the back of the shop while they are there, hurl a missive or missile or plot-shaker-upper of some kind, and dash back out before they can react?
    Probably would not fit in with anything!
    Can’t wait for the book!

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