Wednesday, February 8, 2012

ROW80 Check in - Enthusiasm (and lack there of)

The Enthusiasm Gap

One of the three legs of Rachel Aaron's method of increasing productivity is enthusiasm. And I think that's the thing that's lacking for me right now. Well, not lacking exactly, just playing hide and seek.

I'll have a big wave of enthusiasm, and then it'll go away, and then come back, and then go away. So I stopped on Sunday night and tried to figure out what is really going on.

Two things: one is simply that there are a lot more things vieing for my attention than I think there is. The other is more about writing and writing methods.

To whit: I do not think in chronological order. So if I want to keep my enthusiasm going, I need to let my writing flit back and forth as fast as my imagination does. However....

That leads to having 29 versions of the same scene (or incompatable versions of different scenes). And worse yet, Mick's voice is really dependent on his thought processes and state of mind -- one scene sets him up with a certain point of view, and what he thinks of everything in that scene depends on what happened just before.

I've got to find some way to compromise between these two issues.

A Round of Words in 80 Days check in:

Sunday Day 35 - 22 minutes. Decided to stop and wrestle with the enthusiasm gap. One thing I need to do is sleep. But the other, I think, is to find the joy of the moment. That is, maybe clues are biting me in the rear a little too much. Maybe I need to sit down and think something more trivial at the start of a scene. Go ahead and write it in chronological order (mostly), just so I can say "what's going on in Mick's head? What screwy thing can happen? How can Mick or Casey respond to what is happening ina surprising and interesting way?" and to heck with it dragging the story off course. It's a novella that wants to be a novel. Let 'er go.

I do think, though, that maybe I need to develop a couple more minor characters. Also, Mick and Casey have too many job offers. How can I get more job offers into this story?

Monday Day 36 - 70 minutes. Had a really good session early in the day and that made me complacent. (The enthusiasm thing worked.) I got about 1000 words, and then made my own version of Mussamun Curry, and watched Margaret Rutherford in "Murder Ahoy!" And then spent too much time on Both Monday's and Tuesday's blog posts. (This is Monday, isn't it? Yeah, it is.) And suddenly it's late, and I need to go to bed. Whoops.

Tuesday Day 37 - 61 minutes. I wore myself out somehow. Got a chill. I recovered, and did a little work. I like the way the ending of the book is shaping up, and I'm moving back into the middle. Not much momentum, but I'll take it.

I also did a little thinking on some other stories. I have a clue detail I want to play with for The Man Who Stepped Up -- and the movie reference for it. (They're trying to find a clue in stacks of old junk and magazines. George expects they are dealing with a case of The Purloined Letter, but Karla informs him that, no, it's more a case of Alan Arkin's Torah. And if you get that reference you get mondo extra points.)

I don't want to drop the dribble of momentum I have right now for the three days of not-writing, but I think what I'll do is maybe play with little 100 pixel square dingbats -- like the ones I mentioned in the Adventure Magazine post -- for this story. Or, since it would be more appropriate to ebooks, maybe change the format to a mini-banner to use as chapter heads. The squares would be for the web, really, and probably all I'll ever use. (If I do chapter headers, I'll have to do headers for ALL the chapters.)

If you want to check out the other participants you'll find the mid-week update list here.

See you in the funny papers.


Anonymous said...

Heh, you're playing "tag you're it" with your enthusiasm. That's got to play havoc with your schedule. Good luck on finding that rhythm. Have fun playing with the dingbats :)

David Michael said...

I beat lack of enthusiasm the other way: I push forward through my outline. That way I don't have to think about it. I can just do the writing. And hope the enthusiasm comes back. Usually that happens before the end of the writing session. Sometimes not. If not, I'll just pick up where I left off next time. So my outline plays a big part in keeping me going.


The Daring Novelist said...

Ryan -- hide and seek, yep!

David -- I wasn't bemoaning the lack of enthusiasm, but identifying it as what was wrong. What you describe is what I've been doing, what I always do. But right now it's just not working at all. So I stopped to look at what was wrong -- and it's lack of enthusiasm.

Julie Glover said...

I do feel that sometimes our WIP drives us forward with enthusiasm, and sometimes we feel more like "meh." Best wishes figuring out how to balance what's going on! You're keeping it at, and that's great. Have a wonderful ROW80 week!

KM Huber said...

Let me know if you find a workable compromise, in particular writing/having 29 versions of the same scene. Really enjoy your blog.

The Daring Novelist said...

Thanks, Julie.

KM: that's always a problem with me. It's easier with straight forward adventure, but with mystery, you're weaving so much together.

However, I think that it also has to do with maintaining an energy level. When you are tired and don't have enthusiasm, you see a pile of 29 irreconcilable versions. When you have energy and enthusiasm, you have 29 opportunities.