Saturday, September 21, 2013

The Power of Persistence and Distance

Scott D. Parker

Another week, another set of days just plugging away. I achieved a milestone last night: I hit 200,000 words written this year. And, considering I didn't start until May and didn't truly start until late May, I consider that achievement something to be proud of. I am. But it all goes back to prove the point I've learned this year: the simplest and most fundamental trait of writing is just to write. Start a streak, get in a groove, and just keep going. After awhile, all those words and pages just start adding up. Before you know it, you'll be done. Viola.

But you have to start. And you have to maintain. Those are key.

Once you've written something, put it away and don't look at it or think about it for a few weeks or months. This week, for the first time since I wrote "The End" back on 2 June, I started reading the first story I wrote this year. It's a little 18,000-word whatever-you-call-it (novella? novelette? long short story?). Since the second of June, I have written two short stories, completed one novel, and nearly completed a second. Plus, I've lived life.

All that is to say when I opened the file folder and started reading, the tale itself was fresh again to me. Sure, I remembered writing some of it, but not all. That freshness enabled me to experience the story more or less as a reader. I saw what I liked then (and still do now), I saw my mistakes and fixed them. I like it. It has a particular voice. Now, I'll pass it around to some beta readers and get their take on the story. Only then will I think about where it can go. Oh, and I'll have to write another two or three stories with that character, make sure he has some legs to stand on and move around. Would hate for him to be a one-and-done guy. I kinda like him.

How much time do y'all usually spend putting distance between "The End" of a story and when you start reading it again for the purposes of rewriting?


pattinase (abbott) said...

Not nearly long enough. But you have to factor in age. When I had a story accepted recently and they said the anthology was not coming out until December 2014, I nearly pulled it. How do I know I will still be alive then?

Scott D. Parker said...

Patti - Of course you'll be with us! I look forward to reading it, too. Thanks for stopping by. You at BCon?

Al Tucher said...

It depends on how long it takes to clear my mind. A week can be enough if I've had a lot of stuff going on.

I recently forgot a story completely. I got an email from a zine accepting my story, and I looked at the title and wondered whether they had the wrong author.