Monday, April 8, 2013

Writing rule #1 -- Finish what you write.

I've been working hard on Merlin's Courtship, the third novel in the Merlin's Heir series. It's up over 108 K words, and I'm already seeing when I need to go back and rewrite this. Right now, its a disorganized  mess, and it's hard for me to not to go back and start the rewriting process -- that's the reason why the first two books in the series are not completed.

I realize now, that the number one rule writers should always follow is finish the story before you begin rewriting it. I've seen this on several web sites; Heinlein has it as rule number two in his rules for writers. More than one successful author has written that rule.

As simple as that sounds, it's hard to do. The urge to go back and start the rewrite before the first draft is finished is so alluring. But I cannot fall into that trap. So, I must press on and complete the first draft.

And that is the lesson for the day: finish what you start, even if it's a piece of crap by the end. Look at a sculptor and how he (or she) takes a rock and creates the statue. They start with the rough form and keeps going back and refining this section here, or that section there. They do not work on the rough form, then stop and go back and start adding in detail. They do the entire form, then go back.

That is what the first draft of a story is -- a rough form that needs to refined again, and is needed, yet again. I have to resist the urge and start refining while the story in the block of stone. I have to finish it and then go back and refine it. And this is the hardest lesson to learn up until now.

Now, back to work....


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