I was incredibly determined this morning to make some headway on this project, so I sat down, read back through everything I’d already written, and decided to scrap all but maybe 400 words of it. Which was really sad because I’d actually written about 4000 words today, but it was also happy because they were not really great words. And I know that the words don’t need to be great in a first draft, but if they aren’t coming out the way you want, and you can’t move forward because of that, there’s only one thing to do: KILL THOSE DARLINGS.
Down by 90% of my word count, and feeling beyond frustrated, I cracked my knuckles (eww, not really,) stretched my neck, and knew exactly what I wanted to do.
And then I did it. I kept my butt in the chair all day, save for a few breaks to bake bread and wash dishes, and now that I’ve managed just about 2000 words for the day I feel much more confident about the book I want to write. I realized while I was reading back through I was doing something I have always done: padding. Which isn’t so bad during a first draft or during planning, and when it comes down to it all of that information is sort of necessary to get to know my characters, but it isn’t actually moving the novel itself forward.
I kept all I’d written in a side folder in Scrivener so I can refer back to it later if I need to remember why my main character has such issues with her overbearing mother, or how my spaceman from the stars got separated from his people before crash landing on Earth, but for the main story none of those details need to be described so intricately to advance the story at this point. I can always go back later and add more details if necessary to flesh things out, but as it stands right now I did not need a good 75% of what I’d written.
And, the day’s still relatively young, so I’m going to dive back in and see if I can whip up another 500-1000 words before it’s time to throw in the towel for the day.
I hope whatever you’re trying to accomplish today is going according to plan, and if it isn’t don’t be afraid to chop out the parts that aren’t working. Unless whatever you’re trying to accomplish today is murder or a bank heist, in which case don’t tell me. I’d rather not be an accessory.