Every writer has their process. If you’re lucky, you know your weaknesses and strengths well enough to plan for the long-haul of writing a novel. You know when to push through a writing block, or to be gentle with yourself. You know about where to expect yourself to want to give up, and where in the draft you might actually think you’re a genius.
For me, I have a special point in the draft that I like to call the MID-DRAFT FRENZY. MDF can be recognized by increased heart rate while writing, over-ingestion of coffee, staying up all night tossing and turning because you’re SO EXCITED ABOUT WRITING THIS ONE SCENE OMG, and chewing the inside of your cheek until maybe it bleeds a little, all while believing at least 50% of the time that THIS NOVEL IS AWFUL AND I WILL FAIL.
So…how is this different from the rest of the novel-writing process, you might be wondering?
Because that other 50% of the time you are flying so high on the possibilities of what your novel could become. You’ve reached unparalleled peace and serenity with the inevitable shittiness of your first draft, and it no longer deters you from plowing forward onto the next scene. And for me, MDF is defined most specifically by a certain kind of avoidant behavior. You start craving weird experiences during the rare hours when you’re not actually writing: you suddenly want to dye your hair lilac. You have a mad desire to explore that abandoned house you pass every day on your way to work. You seriously think about going to that creepy old bar you used to go to in college for crappy battle of the bands shows and see if that one kid is still working there, with whom you once had an intense conversation about how GLORIOUS CELLOS ARE. You make plans to hop in your car before sunrise and drive 8 hours to the nearest coastline, take a swim in the Atlantic Ocean, sleep on the beach, and drive home that same night.
Maybe that’s just me, though.
I do like to indulge those impulses, especially during MDF, because ultimately it’s those experiences that revive me as a human being, and a writer. Anything out-of-the-ordinary for me is a kick in the pants, a re-fueling of the story-machine inside my head (and heart, and guts, and bones).
But I’m handling my MDF rather well so far, I think. I might babble on and on about this CRUEL THING I’m doing to one of my characters and this EPIPHANY I had about this other character, and I might occasionally whisper to my Scrivener screen that I love it and no one understands me like my word-babies do. But at least I’m not pacing back and forth pulling my hair out and squealing with frustration/joy in the cafe where I do most of my writing. And instead of a grueling 16 hour driving day to get my ass to the beach and back, I’ve compromised with a friend and we’re taking a working vacation to Massachusetts (SALEM!) this week, where we’ll camp on the beach for two nights. (And I’m working on the lilac hair, but it’s a delicate process.)
Work In Progress Status update (for the sequel to The Hierophant!)
Percent Completed Since June, 2013: about 40%
Characters killed: 0 so far!
Oh Sh!t Moments: 5
Current Favorite Character to Write: Pax! I can’t wait for you to meet him. :D
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