Today, I officially start my #2 Re-Write of The Ghost Lords, and I have learned a few things over the past two weeks. You may find these familiar.
(1) The most terrifying & overwhelming part of a Re-Write is the idea of starting it.
(2) A novel, at this stage, can fall apart all around you, as a dozen or more plot changes start to tug at the strands of your story, making you wonder what you were writing about in the first place anyway.
(3) Getting help from a trusted source at this stage can be the difference between starting and procrastinating.
(4) Having a PLAN OF ACTION is absolutely key, for me, at this point in the game.
(5) Setting a reasonable deadline, setting a do-able weekly goal, and setting myself up for success is key.
(6) Informing my family of #5 and warning them of what is to come…also useful.
Over the past two weeks, I have brainstormed, jotted down sudden thoughts, interviewed experts in various fields, and researched (hence all the author website recommendations on my Prose, Poetry & Purpose page!).
Last night, I got myself, my notes, my laptop, and a trusted advisor together at two locations offering sustenance (always feed those who help you!)…and I walked away from a 4 hour meeting with a well-drafted plan.
This morning, I decided on my exact plan of action and headed for the library. I walked out with a 4-page checklist to use as I go through each chapter of the book. Sounds overwhelming (4 pages), but a checklist is better than a “general sense” of where I’m going.
Tonight, I stared at the checklist, broke out into a sweat, made brownies, and left to go pick up my son…swept, checked the chickens, watered a few plants, cooked, filled the woodbox, and generally procrastinated via chores.
One hour ago, I forced myself to sit down and START chapter one. “We’ll view it as an experiment,” I said to myself, “let’s just see how long it takes to get the first chapter done. Then I’ll know if my deadline is realistic or not…and I’ll have a sense of what works and what doesn’t.”
Thirty minutes ago, I realized that much of what was on the checklist would be quite chapter specific…meaning, I could cross out (or write N/A) all over the place, leaving me with a slimmed down list per chapter. Pen scratching, head tilted, eyebrows lifted…reducing my checklist from 33 down to 14.
Sigh of relief. Okay, that’s enough for today.