Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Look! Twice in One Day!

I'm writing a new book for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), and doing so in the full spirit of the event. In other words, I'm writing crap, ignoring that it's crap, and focusing on moving forward. Every few lines, I have to give myself permission to leave it alone, but I'm not comfortable with putting out crap. It seems as if the less I focus on quality-first, the less quality comes out.

At the same time (well, alternately, not at the exact same time, that would be impossible), I'm reading a book that's just amazing. The richness of each sentence, the clarity of description and action—but perfectly chosen, so it's not getting bogged down in detail. I'm in awe. And it drives me nuts.

Because I can't do it. That's how I feel right now. It's ridiculous. I know for a fact that it doesn't come out that way for her, she's said so. First drafts aren't supposed to be polished. I've written books I'm very proud of, and all of them took many, many passes before they became that way. Still, as the words flow from my brain to my fingers onto the screen, other words join mentally join them:



You used that word six times already.

Vary your sentence structure.

Stop using "then."

You'll never be as good as her.

I'm well aware of the dangers of comparison, and I generally avoid it. But this is a special case. I mean, she's a Patriots fan. We both write romantic adventure, so I feel we have a similar audience. When a book is nothing like mine, I'm not as humbled by its awesomeness (like, say, anything by Megan Hart).

So I have a couple of choices. I can let it get to me, and lament my apparently diminishing skills. Or I can finish reading her book before I go back to writing.

I think I'll go with plan B.


Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

Listen carefully. Put the book down and get back to the keyboard. The crap will sound better when it's all done and you look at it a second time.

Natalie J. Damschroder said...

But...but...the book is so good! :)

Shannon Stacey said...

Back away from the book. It'll still be there when you're done.

Jill Shalvis is the author I can't (or shouldn't) read while I'm writing. I try to save her books as rewards for getting the book done, but I can't leave her books unread, so I tend to not write while reading them.

And thank you. :)

Natalie J. Damschroder said...

As long as they're fast reads, that's okay.

And I'm not really setting aside the writing. Just finding lots of reasons to stop what I'm doing an read a little. :)

Still in awe, but right after I wrote this post, I read "smolder/ed/ing" four times in two pages and felt a lot better. ;) As long as I don't remember how quickly you wrote it.

Ava Quinn said...

Stop it! Now get back to work, woman! Or I'm sending the sea monkeys over to straighten you out!

Natalie J. Damschroder said...

No, not the sea monkeys!


I finished the book. I'm a little behind on the writing, but didn't stop--"behind" is because of work, though.

Hey, I had a dream about you last night. I was babysitting your sons, one of whom had a soccer game, but he'd thrown away his uniform. At the field it was crazy dark, at 10:00 a.m. Weird, huh?

The Happy Whisk said...

Yeah, I'm with Susan. Back away from the book and get back to yours.

And really enjoy the freedom of a first draft. It's messy, it's wonderful, it's yours. You made that wonderful pile of words. How grand.

Enjoy this time.

Natalie J. Damschroder said...

Hi, Ivy! Welcome to Indulgence! :)

Great advice, duly noted, and I'm heading for the book now. I have a few thousand more words to write today...

Cindy Procter-King said...

Well, I see you finished the book. Now get back to NaNo!

Natalie J. Damschroder said...

LOL Yay for Goodreads! :)

I've been plugging away for NaNo, though I'm behind. Plan to catch up tonight. Wish me luck! (And thanks for the buttkicking...I mean, support! :) )