I just got back from a run around the block. I feel pretty good. It’s 2 in the morning. I ran barefoot.
I’m not crazy, promise.
I’ve always had a tendency toward moving when I write. I sit down and write for a moment, and when I need to think, I get up and pace. Or something. I used to be like a jack-in-the-box back in ASMSA and college late at night — when I was writing something in my room, whether it be personal or academic, I would pop out of my room and frantically pace up and down the hall for a while — sometimes less than a minute, sometimes much longer — and pop back in to write. A page or paragraph later, whenever I hit the next tough spot, I’d be out again, up and down the hall, until I had it worked out. I’m sure I drove my dorm-mates nuts, but there just isn’t space in a room for the kind of high-speed high-intensity pacing I prefer.
So I was trying to write earlier, and, finding that the writing wasn’t coming, I decided to read a little bit of my backlog while I thought. (Incidentally, I highly recommend the Read It Later firefox extension — it saved my life. I can mark something to read later and tell myself I will, instead of feeling a desperate need to read it before it gets away.) I ran across a Lifehacker post on how running barefoot might be good for you (also cool shoes) and thought, heck, I love being barefoot! I’ve been meaning to take up running for a decade now! Sure, why not! So I half-ran, half-walked around the block. I’ll regret it tomorrow, but it was worth it.
This isn’t the first time I’ve actually gotten around to doing some running. For a short while I and my friend Morgan (the blog’s down now, but it won’t always be) were running about once a week, way back before she left Little Rock . . . like almost a year ago, wow. Time flies and all that.
So what’s bugging me about writing? Well, I figured out part of it: I need to delinearize my revision process. I figured out a long time ago that writing the first draft in order just doesn’t work for me — sometimes I have ideas for the middle or end of the book way early, and if I don’t write them (a) they’ll get away and (b) I won’t get anything else written, either. I’m not an outline writer, though; I’m sort of a nonlinear discovery writer. End tangent.
Somehow, I forgot that important lesson when I started revising. I think it’s because I really wanted to finally have something to show to my very patient friends and family, so I got the first chapter all fixed up (something I’ve wanted to do for a while anyway) — and then I wanted to keep showing stuff off, so I immediately threw myself into the second chapter.
This won’t work. I know how the beginning goes, but the late beginning all the way through to the end are going to suffer reorganization, sometimes drastic, of scenes. I can’t just go through and look at each chapter individually, making the prose prettier. I need to rewrite a ton of stuff, write new material in places, and just completely relocate scenes from, in some cases, very nearly one end of the book to the other.
There’s still some stuff I need to work out. Which route I’ll take at the end of the second part. Certain details about the climax. Whether or not I’ll give a certain treacherous character an antihero plot arc in the late book. But ultimately, I’m in much better shape after that run.
Current music: Nena, 99 Luftballoons, everybody’s favorite german feel-good nuclear holocaust song from the 80s.