Thinking Like A Writer

I am approaching the end of chapter three in my second draft. I needed some made from scratch chapters to create a better opening, and I have been fairly happy with the result. The change to back up the timeline a bit appears to be working so far, but as I am thinking through these new scenes, I’ve found that my brain has started to see things a bit differently than it has before.

Daydreaming is a writers best friend in my opinion. That blank stare that transports you from your desk chair at work, or the couch in your living room, to watching the story play out in your head. This is where my stories are born. (And die). Not at the computer, but during those moments when I can relax and let my mind detach from the real world. I spend more time here than I do at the keys.

Even with an outline, daydreaming lets the scene come alive, bringing the character’s personalities to the forefront of the action. This has always played out like a movie, but recently I’ve tapped into daydreaming that carried with it a narrative voice.

I’ve been thinking about the editing process quite a bit as this is my second draft and I have much to change and improve in both the story and it’s presentation. Perhaps, then, this is a byproduct of that focus that has subconsciously squeezed into my imagination. It’s not just the scenes that are coming to life, but the sentences that describe it.

Often I will have a great session thinking about a scene and rush to the computer, or phone app, and try to write things down. This causes a couple of problems. Either what I write comes out as bullet points outlining the scene, or I have to start over and try to play the scene out again, then try to think about how I am going to present it through the words on the page. That image to words transformation has always been my Achilles heel.

I’ve already had to alter my writing style over the years, one where I am not trying to daydream or imagine a scene while watching the cursor blink. I’ve had to separate writing time from thinking time, because it takes away the pressure of wasting those precious writing windows. There is nothing more deflating than setting aside an hour to write, and come away with nothing on the page.

By thinking about a scene as if I were reading the book, instead of watching the movie, I’ve started to see more of the presentation side first. I’ve found that those sentences tend to stick a bit better than just images, and when I recall a scene, the narrative voice comes with it. When I then sit down for an actual writing session, the presentation of the scene comes through so naturally that I’ve seen an increase in my word count. Words are being written! The images to words process isn’t such a struggle as it has been. Since I am on the lookout for maximizing my writing efficiencies, I couldn’t be happier that I’ve finally been able to embrace this process.

Over the course of this draft, once I hit chapters that need some heavy lifting, instead of just being tossed into the recycling bin, I’m sure I’ll hit a few snags. But, I am discovering a lot about this story and the characters, but also about my own writing processes and what works best for me. The advice of finishing what you started is becoming more vital as I push on.

With the close of chapter three, I will have proper introductions for each of my three POV characters, as well as laying the groundwork for the inciting incident. After struggling over a month to write a thousand words, this is a welcome improvement in productivity.

Here’s to chapter four, where words have already been written, and await the red pen.