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Life Of A Thousand Cuts

Tonight was a good writing session. I partially rewrote a section but it flowed really well and decided that it was worth keeping. It’s a bit of background, but I like it because it demonstrates a value that I’ve discovered about the protagonist but don’t want to spell out.

What I am cutting is an earlier tendency to have this regretful, self loathing inner monologue ongoing. It’s a rookie mistake, which I suppose I still am but I like to find where I am weakest and look to improve upon it. The section I left might eventually come out but I like the voice of it. It was the point in the first draft where I thought I actually had her voice right.

I don’t write with manifestos in mind, it tends to overpower the story but I do like to think that sometimes I get it right. Not political correctness but when I write, I like to feel that I have captured a sense of someone. I’ve studied a bit of theory, the Pixar list is fascinating and useful plus I want to get a female protagonist who not only does things to move towards her desire but captures some degree of ambiguity to them. ¬†If I write someone who is merely nice, then I’ve failed.

I want them to feel real. Then the story rolls out from there. It starts as a proposition, an idea but it’s the characters who point the way. If you get your characters right, then you develop a sense of what’s likely and then your story decisions become organic and feel plausible.

Those moments when a bad turn of phrase or a plot development that feels forced, when they kick your ass out of the book, you’re likely to feel betrayed. I have experienced it and it’s not something I wish for anyone who reads my work. I want to write fiercely, honestly and passionately because I want to give you my absolute best. I am dedicated to writing, not being a writer and I want to be the best possible writer that I, and only I can be.

Anyway, tomorrow I hit the 150 page mark. It’s moving along under it’s own momentum. There’s bound to be sticking points but you force through them until it feels good again and then you’ve got a second draft, which puts you in a good position with your agent and also yourself.

All the writing advice I’ve ever absorbed but there’s a few things that stay with me no matter what.

1. Write to a schedule and stick to it. A small daily practice builds and develops into a habit, make it small enough to stick to and keep doing it. 30 days of doing it and you’ll be unlikely to stop doing it.

2. Finish things. Start something else then finish that. Repeat.

3. Read more than you watch television or anything else. It develops intuition and a sense of what’s likely.

4. Focus on what’s good and learn from what’s bad. Don’t make a name for pointing out the bad stuff. The sword of discerning truth cuts the unwary wielder deeply. Be better. Focus on your own work.

5. Have an Ideal Reader. Write for them. It can be a marketing demographic or a person( a person is always better). If you spread yourself too thin, you’ll chase shadows and never catch anything of substance.

6. Anyone can call themselves a writer now. That’s good because it means that you can get on and do the work that REALLY makes you a writer.

7. First drafts are shit. It’s ok because you can polish them up and make them sing. Or at least minimize your incompetence, which is the same thing sometimes.

Say hello once in a while. Comment below, say something controversial, tell me a joke, introduce yourself. It’s lonely work sometimes and I like to talk to you all.

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