I’m not a big golfer –the last time I golfed, I rolled a cart– but the word mulligan has found its way into my vocabulary.
Recently, the idea of a writing mulligan came to me. As I’ve been working on Rue From Ruin, I’m increasingly conscious of how much more work I need to do on my upcoming novel, The Galaxy and All Her Charms. I started TGaAHC almost a year ago (November 1, 2014) and over time I finished approximately 15,000 words. This was disheartening because I had already sped my way through half of the planned plot, and my intention was for the finished book to be between 90-110k words.
I had such grand plans and they seemed to be in ruins.
I felt like a putz.
Eventually, I began posting here. My goal was to refocus. At first, I just wanted to write something I could actually finish. I had taken a long hiatus from blogging on my family and tech-geek blogs, and it was good to get back in the saddle of writing –and finishing– regularly.
Next came a lucky break. I had a writing prompt that resulted in the first part of RFR. This was a real turning point. I wanted to share it on the blog, but I also didn’t want it to have to stand alone. There was more story to tell. So, I went back to my plot exercises and came out with something I thought would be decent. Here we are, two months and four parts into the serial. Everything is going to plan, although perhaps a bit slower than I initially hoped. I’m using deadlines and great beta-readers to produce something I enjoy. I’ve heard from at least three of you who like it as well!
Some members of my writing group started talking about working on new novels at the same time, providing chapters and critiquing one each month. I agreed to participate and started sending out completed chapters of TGaAHC even though I knew they were flawed. The group’s feedback, combined with reading and critiquing their work, has me thinking: maybe conventional wisdom is wrong for me.
Maybe I shouldn’t just “write to done” my first draft of Galaxy. Maybe after I finish Rue, I’ll start Galaxy from the beginning again.
I’m not saying I’m going to throw everything away. The bones are good. I’m just going to flesh it out better. Give the characters added depth. Add more internal thought. Write better descriptions of locations and objects. Include new scenes and more buildup. Do all the things a longer work needs and deserves.
I think I’m going to take a writing mulligan.
Side note: I have what I hope will be an entertaining piece of fiction lined up for Halloween (or the day before). It may or may not be RFR-related… but it probably won’t be anything like this: