Monday, November 29, 2010
Writing a dry run
When I was a kid, my dad insisted on "dry runs" for everything. Anytime I went to a new place, a new dentist, music teacher, school, whatever, my dad would drive me through the new route, explain everything he thought I'd need to know.
It often seemed unnecessary or time consuming, and I'm sure I frequently rolled my eyes at him. But it did the trick of making new things go more smoothly (except for the time I got completely lost on the way to my music teacher's house, but that's a different story).
Lately I've been struggling with my writing. I started on Project Demo, then stopped, then started again. I think what frustrates me is not having all the answers, not knowing my characters inside and out, how the book starts or ends, or even what tense I want to write in.
But recently I remembered something one of my Bath Spa University tutors, Steve Voake, told me. He said that the first draft is for telling a story to yourself. The second draft is for figuring out how to tell the story to others.
As I plod my way through Project Demo, figuring out all the ins and outs of my characters and plot, that's me trying to tell myself a story. Once I know everything, then I can figure out how best to write that story. It's kind of like writing a dry run. And like a dry run, it feels time consuming and unnecessary. I wish I could just get on to some good writing. But once I finish this dry run, hopefully Project Demo will grow into a real story.