(ROW80 and Clarion Writeathon update at bottom of post.)
Struggling with multiple visions of the story is a common writer's problem. You've got all these ideas. Some are mutually exclusive. Every choice you make, you cut off an option.
I really honestly thought doing the tight serial version of the story and then relaxing into a more leisurely book version would be a writer's dream come true. I'm not stuck with just one choice! I can do two!
It's not turning out that way, unfortunately.
What I'm finding is that, even though the blog version is deadline driven (and therefore far from perfect or polished), my writer brain is adapting to the format, and I'm getting the stuff that I want into these tighter and smaller packages. And as a result, the posted version is, more and more often, coming out better than the book version.
And I don't often see places I want to expand. I want to do some work on the prose, make things clearer, improve the timing, but other than a few outtakes I want to restore, not make it longer. Not give it more atmosphere.
I think this is happening partly because of the deadlines. The thing about deadlines is that they produce pressure to Get It Right Now.
Self-imposed deadlines do not do this. For instance, the fact that I have rewriting the episodes for the book version as a part of this dare doesn't help even the tiniest bit: You folks aren't going to see that version tomorrow, so the fact that one part is a little too fuzzy, or I haven't found the "direction" of the scene, doesn't matter. My brain is tired, the piece is whole and makes sense, I'm done.
But when you have a publication deadline, somebody's going to read that story the next day. It can't be just a waste of the reader's time. The core meaning of the scene, the dynamics involved, all that matters, and you've got to get it right now, before the book is done.
However, I do find that writing the "book version" first is helping me with the posted version -- it's a looser rough draft. I'll need to do that book in a third draft - and maybe then (especially if I do it on a break between serials) I'll be able to get into a more leisurely voice and expand it more.
But even if not, I think it will be an improved version. For all that they make me focus, the deadlines really do force me to make some compromises. It's just that some become a springboard for something new.
See you in the funny papers.
Progress tally for "A Round of Words in 80 Days Meets The Clarion Write-a-Thon"
Sunday Day 14 - art and editing
Monday Day 15 - Book version of Ep 22.
Tuesday Day 16 - Ep 22 (to be posted Thursday)
While I get more and more behind (now 6 days behind for the Aug 4 Clarion deadline) I am also getting more and more ahead. I've been doing a lot of partial drafts for upcoming episodes. Also, a few other stories are cropping up.
My main disappointment, though is the art. Definitely getting in a rut, but this may due to the fact that I am doing most of the art at the last second just now.