By Christine Thackeray
I'm participating in the BIAM this month and am so grateful for the motivation to write. Day One I was finishing up an edit and wrote a long query letter so I reached my goal, but not on my work in progress. The next day I began to write but found I needed to do more research and the time flew. I went to bed at 2am with nothing written.
This morning was writer's group, and I went with my new chapter that I wrote last week. When I got there my friend Julia had a new chapter too. She has five little ones at home and found some time Wednesday evening to go to a little coffee shop and type away. With only limited free time she simply wrote. As we read through her rough draft, she came up with some great ideas that could improved what she had. Together we encouraged her to drop more clues and to have her antagonist make a showing to heighten the need for her protagonist to flee. When we finished, she had made some real progress in her story, discovering whole new motivations, plot points and characters.
Too often I don't write until I know exactly where I'm going and then I read and reread what I've done to take me to the next step, creeping along my plotline at a pathetic rate. Being willing to let go and just write the story is freeing even if it isn't perfect the first time. The key is to remember you can fix it later.
When I took an oil painting class, I was surprised that we began our projects by outlining them in charcoal. Then we did the broad colors, painting only the large forms. After that we added the darker tones and finally put in the reflections with pale shades and whites. So if your first draft is merely a charcoal drawing in words, that alright. The beauty of the age of word processors is that we can write in layers, bringing a texture to our writing that may have been more challenging with only a typewriter.
I say this because I believe it, not because I do it. That's what this month is about.