I think, perhaps, that every writer and budding writer has five types of writers all jumbled together inside of them:
who writes like ink is flowing from their fingertips, the words damming and overflowing at different points in their story
who quietly waits for every detail they’ve hinted at to come together in a climatic series of moments
who writes words like they’re poetry and the worlds they create are full of light and shadows you can lick from your fingertips like honey
who detailsdetailsdetails and creates a world full of richness and vibrancy that couldn’t exist elsewhere
who looks for any plot holes and mistakes that make a story that feels real stutter for a moment as the reader stumbles over them
* * *
As I’m currently reworking my Nanowrimo draft of a first finished* novel, these are the things I’m thinking about right now. I think that every writer has a percentage of these types of writers inside of themselves. It’s hard to be only one. Writers may be more of one over the rest of them or be 40-40-10-10. Everyone’s process is different, which is why I find reading about different writer’s processes very curious and illuminating.
*It technically has a beginning and an end, but the middle is so muddled up that it needs to be 80% scraped
But the topic of this post is refocusing. I’m writing it because I’ve found myself in a rabbit-hole of sorts at this point in my prepping for the revision/rewrite/burning of my first draft. And the problem is this: details.
- How many large cities vs small cities vs towns vs villages? Do I need to know all of their names now (obsessive answer: yes because map making; calmer answer: no, probably not because I can just put in fillers) or can I just figure that out when I have more of the story written?
- Where are the mountains? The oceans? The grasslands?
- What was life like for some of the main secondary characters before they entered my main character’s life?
I get so focused on the minutiae of the story that I lose touch with the larger story. I believe strongly that a writer should know a lot more about their characters and setting than is revealed to the readers; I think that it makes the story better if the writer knows the background details in order to make everything as rich as it can be.
But sometimes I find myself knowing more than I need to at that moment. My curiosity takes me on trips down lanes of lesser known towns, deep into forests where explorers set up camp, and across oceans to islands full of pirates. As I’m discovering things about my world and making it wider, I’m also getting tangled up in the muchness of it.
So this post is my attempt to distance myself, just a little bit. I’m excited about the opportunities that my world is providing me. I thought that this was just going to be a two book series, but now I’m thinking about different stories and different characters. I just have to write the first two before I can go onto other ones!
I’m locking down ideas and putting them in a box for later.
* * *
Happy writing–and focusing–to those who are on the same path I am.