Greetings gentle reader, I am continuing to share what I’ve learned as a writer from doing Nanowrimo. One of the things I’ve learned is that when it is time to write, your best productivity is most likely to happen if you just do it. No censoring, no second thoughts. This also means that you keep editing and re-reading what you’ve just written as you write it to a minimum, a feat I am still learning to do. My mantra has become “no one will see it until I’m ready for them to– Write it! If it doesn’t work no one will every know.” I’ve found that this simple act is much harder than it sounds.
The inner critic is happy to whisper that we’re wasting our time, that we could write it better if we did X instead of Y, sometimes the inner critic is even right. I can’t imagine the process that detailed outliners go through. The number of times that I have literally torn up a scene that sounded really good only to find that it didn’t work half as well in execution is legion.
What I’ve found helps against the inner critic is the following:
Make a list of all of your characters. Yes, all of them. Keep it handy. Not only will you then not have to fumble around for their name, (what was the name of that spear holder in the throne room?), but if you find that if a scene doesn’t work from your beloved main characters point of view, try the same events from the view of a minor character. Ask that minor character to explain what is going on, you may be surprised. Even if it never makes it into your final draft, you’ve just spent more time writing, and not only honing your skills as a writer, but I find that the other character silences the Inner Critic as well.
After all, if Fagan can be surprised by what the Artful Dodger does, then your Critic should be surprised in what Dodger is doing as well. Belief, I have found, is a strong element in story telling. Not only the belief of your audience, but your own belief as well. If you can believe in what you write, then your audience will too. If you don’t believe it, experience tells me that your audience won’t either and really do not want that.
So gentle readers, if you write fiction, what strategies would you share about how you ‘trick’ yourself into believing in your world and your characters? Some of us do research, others observe the people in the world around them.