Monday, May 4, 2009

Putting flesh on the skeleton

Remember when I decided to write out of order? Last week, it got to be too much. I had more writing in my "bits of writing" file than anywhere else. I had no idea what I'd written already and what I hadn't. I'd used a legal pad, a journal, and a composition notebook, plus some I'd composed on the computer. In short, the story was a mess.

So this weekend, I sat down and put it all in order, all in one document. And guess what? The book is almost written!

Sure, there are those large chunks where it says things like "this is where Ant saves the lizards." There are plenty of places where it says "they do something fun (styrofoam?)." And I'll admit, there is one place where I wrote, "They find the big clue that ties it all together. Note to self: figure out what the big clue is."

Details, details. The point is, the skeleton is there. And on my "to write" list for the week, I have only this: "Put flesh on the skeleton."

Now, is my book finished? No. Is there still a ton of writing to do? Yes. But somehow, seeing it all on the skeleton, in one document, in order like that, makes it seem finished. And the book being finished makes what's left to write seem trivial and fun, instead of this inconquerable mountain that looks ahead of me.

Tinkerbell is reading Honus and Me, by Dan Gutman,* this week. It's a fun baseball book, and has a great bit of advice, which I paraphrase as "The secret to being a great ball player is to trick yourself into thinking you already are one."

Maybe the secret to getting your novel written is to trick yourself into thinking you've already written it.

* It is fun, though I warn that the later books in the series tackle much more mature content, which I didn't discover until I had already let her take them out of the library and start them. Bad mom.


Ann Finkelstein said...

Why didn't the skeleton cross the road?
He didn't have the guts.

But you have the guts to finish your novel, and it will be awesome.

Tabitha said...

Congrats on getting your skeleton put together!

I'm doing the same thing with a MG that I started six or seven years ago. It's a great approach for this story, but this never would have worked for the other novels I've written. Funny how each story is different, huh? :)

C.R. Evers said...

You go girl! Way to finish that skeleton. You RAWK!

Jacqui said...

Aw, thanks for the encouragement, guys. Now, if one of you would just write the rest...

J. Thorp said...

I've TOTALLY already written my novel. Just can't remember where I put it ... But it's great. No, really.

Jacqui said...

Thorp: It's written; it's just not WRITTEN DOWN. Sigh.

Mary Witzl said...

I've already tried that trick and it hasn't helped a lot. Maybe it's just taking a long time to work?

Jacqui said...

Mary, or you are less gullible than I am.