When in doubt, spit it out

Yesterday was nuts.  Errand day makes me tired and cranky, so you can imagine the mood I was in 10:00 last night when I finally sat down to work on the book.  I’m at a point in chapter five when two of my main characters meet for the first time, and I was trying to imagine what they would say to each other.

I tend to edit as I write.  That means it takes me forever to finish a chapter, but when I’m done it’s fairly polished.  After twenty minutes last night I had only two lines (and they were hardly Giller Prize material let me tell you), so I decided to skip the editing and spit my thoughts out on paper.  Seriously, if I’m going to draft a chapter a week, I don’t have the luxury of agonizing over every word.  At the end of an hour I’d drafted 1,000 words (ok, 943 words) and had sketched out the “bones” of the conversation.  It was stiff dialogue and riddled with clichés (no doubt influenced by the 1940s radio plays I’ve been listening to on Vintage Radio Shows), but I at least had something on paper.

I took another look at it again this evening, expecting to wrestle with it for hours – I honestly wasn’t sure which way to go with it.  But (thank God), once I got writing it started to flow … for the first time, it was more like recording a conversation overheard, less like putting words in someone’s mouth.  Pretty neat.

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