Two nights this week, I sat at my daughter's martial arts class and worked on a new chapter to a novel I started last spring (Betrayal in the sidebar). I had prepared a detailed outline, character sketches, and chapter openings. I had the thing sectioned into five logical parts and even wrote the ending. When my medical issues climaxed over the summer, I set it aside.
I figured I could easily pick it up again since I had the outline and the first ten thousand words. But the last chapter I wrote ended in January; the next one needed to jump to June. The issue is I need to get to June without recounting the details of the time between while also connecting the January chapter to the June one. Tricky.
I just came out of NaNoWriMo mode, where you write for quantity, not quality. I cannot say how much that did not - will not ever - work for me. I'm a fast writer, like well more than 1000 words a hour, but writing blind is not good for me. It's hard to start writing again in 'normal' mode after spending a month writing differently followed by two weeks of not writing at all.
So I took a paper journal with me to karate class. I haven't used a pen and paper to write a chapter in a very long time, but I needed to slow it down a bit. I needed to figure out what I wanted to write and how I would get from January to June without going to the months in the middle. I wanted to get back to writing images that stick with you instead of counting words. It was the equivalent of sketching before painting. It felt good, like the exact way I needed to approach it.
Both nights, people kicked pads through the air, broke boards, and did all their karate things while I jotted down thoughts and dialogue and perfected the subtle details of the chapter. Last night I added one scene to the chapter that made me want to cry, I felt so bad for the main character.
As I held back my tears, I imagined how a class full of teens and adults who were in complete bad-ass mode would react if I started crying while writing in my notebook with my feet propped up on a chair.
I kept writing until I ended of the chapter (no tears). As I watched the last few minutes of class, I realized how good it feels to be back to writing again, writing how I like to do it - crafting details with a crowd of people around me who have know idea what I'm doing. Today I'm feeling bad-ass too.