Friday, March 03, 2006

Pushing through the wall....

You'd think after writing forty books and novellas I'd have a system -- a consistent method or means of approaching the writing of a book. Sadly, I don't. My system is no system, apparently, except for the multiple drafts approach. I've rarely met a page I didn't want to edit.

However, for the past few books, I've had a specific problem. I'd get so far into the book, then feel compelled to go back to the beginning and revise. Last year at this time, I simply couldn't seem to get past page 100 in the work-in-progress without revising. So I'd revise, then write a couple more pages, then go back and revise again. Writers' block? This was a complete brick wall. Finally, I simply ran out of time. The book had a deadline and I had to move on -- but that proved to be the "cure". The book was done on time, and it's gotten some of my best reviews ever.

This time, however, I began to feel that compulsion to revise even earlier. I surrendered to it once, because I'm well aware I have a major tendancy to tell, not show, at the start and I put in too much backstory. By the time I reached Page 50 of the first draft, I'd actually written more like 80 pages, and lost 30. But that was okay, I told myself. I'm on a firmer foundation.

However, I'm now over the Page 100 mark and I'm feeling that urge to go back and revise again. This time, though, I'm going to ignore it and just keep going. I'm thinking of it as heading off writers block before it takes hold, even though I know what I'm writing will need a lot of revising. Even though what I'm writing is, basically, dialogue and not much else. I can fix it. I will fix it. But in the meantime, it's damn the revision compulsion! Full steam ahead!

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