Nickel and Diming

Progress is so damn incremental.

I’m not sure that I actually enjoy writing so much as I love being creative.  It’s intention versus execution, something I’ve always had a bit of a struggle with.

I love ideas. I have lots of ideas. Great ideas. How to plan a novel, how to change my life, how to change the world.

An example: How about if Mississippi, one of the poorest, if not THE poorest state in the nation, were to try something a bit different when it came to enticing businesses here. Instead of giving a business a tax subsidy forever, what if the powers that be were to offer it like an introductory plan: Set up business here, we’ll give you a tax credit for, say, 10 years, with the understanding that the business will remain for say, 20 years.  If for whatever reason the business doesn’t pan out, then they would have to pay the amount they would have been taxed.

Not perfect, and I lack the legalese, but it seems possible.  If they wanted to go crazy, they could set wage levels and what not so we wouldn’t have one more business adding more minimum wage jobs that don’t do much for the economy.

But that’s crazy talk. I know.

Or you know, get rid of the tax on food BEFORE we do away with the income tax?

But I digress.

The writing is coming along. Slowly. Painfully and slowly.  It’s like pulling teeth, which is strange. I know this is the book I want to write. In a moment of madness, I discovered the overreaching arc and the crisis, something that will require heavy editing once I’m finished to ensure that it’s consistent with the arc. I have ideas out of the yin-yang (which, I’m not really sure which part of the body to which that actually refers), but sitting down and actually writing is difficult and a bit painful.

Not complaining, mind you, so much as trying to understand. I really don’t understand it.

Except that I have the horrible habit of self-editing as I write.  I don’t want to write crap, even if it’s a rough draft crap. I was embarrassed to hand over a half-done chapter as part of my turn in for feedback. It’s like the page was attacked by [symbols] as place holders for better words, better descriptions, <pieces I want to add later.>

(WTF was I thinking?)

It’s like being naked, I think. I read that Tom Robbins sits down, writes a sentence, and doesn’t move on until it’s perfect.

It’s no where near perfect, but perhaps that’s what I’m looking for.  Perfect sentences. Or, in Tom Robbinese, the perfect taco.

But I’m Nickel and Diming the hell out of this poor story. Five words. Ten words. Remove twenty words. Rephrase 7 words into five. So on and so on and so on.

I’ve discovered Scrivener, which is both a blessing and a curse. A blessing in that I can split it up into parts, something I love, love, love. Get an idea for a section, title it, write a couple of lines, and save it for later. It makes unwieldy documents wield-y. I just discovered–after having it for about a month–that there are sections for settings and characters. You can outline the backstories for as many characters as you want, describe settings, etc.

Which leads me to my curse.

Having freshly discovered this wonderful character-mapping aspect of Scrivener, I have proceeded to outline characters for my next book. The book that I want to write as a series. Totally unrelated to my first.

The first, which is, as of now, a mere 12,453 words. (I do like precision.)

So there’s that.

And there’s the series I began fleshing out before this one that I want to make a serial as well, most likely under a pen name and exclusively on KDP.

In the mean time, I need to at least finish a chapter before my workshopping group on Tuesday. And clean the house. Because dog hair.

As a post script, I highly recommend Scrivener. You can grab it here for free for 30 non-consecutive days. (Another cool thing, I thought.) Disclaimer: I’m not getting paid to recommend it I just think it’s really, really fantastic, and I would have killed to have it while writing my thesis.

Your mileage, of course, may vary.

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