I’m a planner. An anal retentive, borderline psychotic planner. I have lists of my lists, several day planners (none of which I use for longer than two weeks, but the intent is still there), and charts of chores on my walls that have become artwork rather than anything by way of motivational organizing. Meaning that my self-inflicted brow beating rarely manifests as anything other than a nagging worry and a minor sense of obligation.
When it comes to writing, I am the same way. I plan and plot and research, and then I plan and plot some more. Sometimes this works for me, and sometimes I’m creating my own paper and ink gag, complete with color coded tabs.
Over this last summer, I spent hours and hours researching for my next book, only to find that the plan for a couple of my characters wasn’t remotely what I wanted. My plan was perfectly plotted… but executing it was making me skip over my Word document, and go right for Facebook.
And then I remembered something, something liberating and horrifying and wonderful. It’s my damn book, and my damn research, and if I want to throw that sh*t away and start over, I can… so I did! And hey presto! I’m writing again! My characters are interesting again, my plot is mysterious again (though I did keep half of the research… some of it was a good idea, I swear!).
I did that with my first book, I threw the first half away. It offended me. It was trite; uncouth even. The act of throwing it away gave me the space I needed to write something that I wanted to read, rather than trying, yet again, to smooth out something that wasn’t working.
So, note to self:
If it isn’t working, Throw that Sh*t away!!