Sunday, October 24, 2021

Typical writing session

Buckle your seatbelts for a fascinating look into a typical writing session! (Be warned: I may be employing the word "fascinating" rather loosely.) This is how I spent my morning:

Opened the file and found the scene I was revising. Edited a few lines.

Paused. Something about this scene, and the section of dialogue I was facing, bothered me. But what?

Thought about it. Could not figure it out.

Played some computer solitaire.

Realized what bothered me about the scene and what I wanted to do about it. Cut out the sentences that were opening a tangent that felt wrong for these characters. Reworked a few paragraphs.

Filled in some character names where I had previously just used initials. (I often refer to characters by initials in a first draft, before I know what their names are.)

Reached the next scene. Made some fussy little edits. Got to a part where a character is supposedly quoting Oliver Twist. I had done this from memory, not sure if the language in question was, in fact, from Oliver Twist. Spent an inordinate amount of time looking through Oliver Twist, having thoughts about workhouses and social safety nets, the marvelous depiction of the Dodger and Charley and Sikes, the offensive cringe-worthy depiction of Fagin, the way that Oliver disappears partway through the book, ceding the plot to Bill and Nancy, and ... remembered I was supposed to be writing my own book.

Not finding what I was looking for, deleted the reference to Oliver Twist and reworked that paragraph.

Spent some time debating just how far a certain romantic relationship should progress. Realized actual scenes will be needed to explain why these two characters like each other as much as they do. Wrote myself  a note to add such scenes.

Cut out some repetitive language.

Resolved a minor plot inconsistency.

Marked where I wanted to stop for the day, then read ahead to see which scenes are coming next.

This process may be meandering, inefficient, and slow, but it gets me there eventually. It would be nice if the perfect words came quickly and surely, but they seem to prefer to percolate up from the depths of my mind, inch by inch.


  1. Hi Jenn! I had to laugh at your description of falling down the Oliver Twist rabbit hole. Oh, so very familiar!