Baby steps, sir. Baby steps.

I was afraid this would happen. I’ve spent too long in edit/publish mode, and now that I’m trying to use July (and Camp NaNoWriMo) to jumpstart the alpha draft of The Dragon, my fingers are stalling.

Writing really is a habit that you can’t let yourself get out of. Big duh, right? I’ve heard variations of this maxim from every creator I respect and yet I still don’t place enough focus on it.

My situation walking into The Dragon’s first draft is extremely different than when I began The Thief. I pantsed my first 50,000 words of The Thief. No, I don’t mean that – novels don’t have pants. Pantsing is a term often used by writers to abbreviate “writing by the seat of your pants.” Typing without plans or structure. I didn’t have a world, I had a scant handful of characters I barely knew, and no idea what the plot of The Thief even was. I didn’t even know it was going to become a series, at that point.

This time, I have a lot of structure already in place. I know exactly how this book ends. I know all the major plot points I need to hit to get there. I know who my three narrators are (though I’m only familiarized with one) and I know where everyone is going, development-wise, after this book is over.

While having that much pinned down is comforting in its own way, I’m kind of wondering if maybe it’s bypassed some of the fun of having no earthly idea what I’d end up with. It’s not a secret that I enjoy the odd bit of chaos. I guess I need to remember that there’s still plenty of room for surprises in this draft, and that I should let my mind wander around in those places. Because while I have some solid plot point pillars, the events that I’m stringing up between them are still up for grabs. I’ve got two new narrators to learn, and one of those two has a very unusual perspective on the world.

And to be fair, that first “pantsed” 50,000 words of The Thief, most of it is stuffed into a folder called “outdated” and very little is in the published book. I fictionally flailed around a lot before I landed on material that stuck. You don’t even want to know how many different versions of Hemlock there are. It’s kind of embarrassing.

So maybe this time around I won’t have as much wasted effort? Ehhhh, wasted is the wrong word…all that material was needed to get me to the right place. How about, maybe this time around I won’t have to spend as much time in the alpha draft? Yeah, that’s more accurate. Here’s hoping. Because I’d love to finish The Dragon ASAP, for my own satisfaction, and for the people who keep throwing things at me shouting “WHERE’S BOOK 2?” I love those people.

Ganbatte, writer-san.

/cast iPod [Circa Survive – Strange Terrain]