Sunday, January 16, 2011

Taking Breaks

I'm kind of mad that I stopped writing last semester for a couple of months. Everyone needs a break once in a while, but it is so hard getting back into writing after having quit cold turkey for a while. It's like you forget how to sit there and tell your brain to shut up and let the characters talk. You feel mildly stupid staring at a blank document, waiting for the words to come forth. So that's where I am right now, trying to get back into the flow of looking past the words on the page and spinning a story. 

I started The Fetching and realized it doesn't have the potential The Forever City does. It's too generic, and it doesn't allow me to explore the deeper themes I want. I reread TFC. It's amazing what you can see after putting something aside for a while. It's good. I mean, it may be one of the best things I've written, and I completely credit it to the fact that I approached it differently (well, also, it is the culmination of two years of intensive writing). I wrote slowly, not quickly. And I edited as I went; I wasn't spewing out words without direction, hoping to clean it up later. It's just too good for me to put aside. I do still feel passionate about this story. The more I think about it, the more ideas I get for it, and the more I think it has external and internal climax possibilities. It's really everything I've ever wanted in a novel to write. It's contemporary, it's urban fantasy, and it deals with the implications of immortality. It allows for world-building and creature-creation, but it is also deeply rooted in reality: the death of a loved one, generational differences, cultural struggles (the main character is half-Chinese), and choosing what's best for yourself versus choosing what's best for your family.

While I believe in the merits of going for a slower first draft (better quality), it's obvious that not maintaining some level of word count as progress doesn't work. Without a word count goal, I'm not planning ahead what days I can set aside for writing. When you're in college, studying for the LSAT, and working 20-30 hours a week, planning ahead is crucial if you want to get ANYTHING done. The 2,000 a week seems to be fairly reasonable right now. It's important for me to remember even if I don't accomplish the 2k/week goal every week (like I didn't this week, but it was editor training week, so eh), not to freak out about it. The main idea of the word count goal is to help me stay on track. Next week is a new week to up the word count, and last week will be past. 

The Forever City


  1. Ack, I definitely know what you mean. I essentially brought all forms of creative writing to a halt last semester, save for poetry, and it was so difficult to make myself sit still long enough to work on my novel during the break. Really hoping I'll be able to write more this time around.

    "The Forever City" sounds fantastic, btw! So glad it's going well for you; easy going, I've found for me at least, is good going haha.

    (Oh, and also, I've finally put up that review of Never Let Me Go, if you want to check it out. :])

  2. Definitely know what you mean. I took a huge break from any real writing after NaNo, and right now, I'm so very daunted about starting up again. (So I'm reading a lot more instead - talk about procrastination.)

    On another note, wow, do I want to know more about The Forever City! Love your themes!