Today, I was bad. Today, despite my promises, I did the unthinkable but inevitable read-through of the 3,000 words I wrote yesterday for my novel. Inner editor has defeated me, but I figured I’d explain and defend my choice first.
Yesterday, I used the program over at ilys.com. Yes, I finally allowed a computer program to put a lock on my inner editor. Funny thing is, despite my stubborn misgivings, it actually kind of worked. I started writing, was annoyed for the first five minutes over the fact that I couldn’t really see what I was writing, and then I got over it. And then I wrote and wrote and wrote. Originally my goal was set to 2,500 words, but by the time I felt the scene was “complete,” I was just above 3,000.
Writing 3,000 words in one sitting is nothing new for me. I am the kind of person that writes by the scene or chapter. There has to be a sense of completion before I’ll stop, so that’s typically my magical number. Give or take a few words. The problem is that I don’t write 3,000 words every day (try once a month for a novel, for instance), and when I do, it takes hours. However, writing 3,000 words without stopping to think about what I’m writing, without pausing to correct spelling or grammar or sentence structure or anything at all, enabled me to write those 3,000 words in just over an hour.
After I finished, I was so horrified by what I thought I’d written that I actually did a very un-Michelle-like thing. I copied my scene, pasted it into a Word document, saved it, and refused to read it. Unlike my normal writing sessions, since I hadn’t been able to reread as I wrote it, I wasn’t entirely sure what I’d written. I could remember bits and pieces of dialogue, a few lines, but otherwise, I found myself drawing a blank. Admittedly, I was daunted by the fact that I didn’t know if I’d written anything that would actually benefit my story.
Today, I couldn’t resist any longer. Inner-editor was ignored for 24 hours (that’s a record), but alas, I had to know. I opened the Word document with closed eyes, then I practically peeked through my fingers. I started reading. Spelling errors. Some repeated sentences/ideas here or there. The formatting was messed up due to how I’d written it (and my inability to see anything). As for the text itself? I took it slowly. I started from the beginning. Fixed the quotation marks. Combined sentences. Rewrote a few of them so they sounded less like a five year old had written them. Added more detail, took other details out. This took me about two hours, if I’m being honest.
And I got to the end, and I did another un-Michelle-like thing. I smiled over what I’d written. I smiled.
It wasn’t perfect by any means. It still needs editing. But I’m content, for the moment, with what I have on the page. Content enough that inner-editor Michelle can move forward with the story.
There is hope for me after all.
Have you guys used ilys or some other kind of writing program? Opinions? How do you satisfy your inner editor?
Zoey reaches up and retakes his hand, running her fingers across his palm. “How are you flying?”
“How are you sitting on the water?” Fyffe says, grinning despite himself. “This is my world, Zoey. You’ve awoken to a dream.”