I recently came across a quote by the late Terry Pratchett that has really given me perspective for writing:
Although I have always been in the “don’t rewrite anything until you finish!” camp, this really gave me some perspective on why this method is helpful (beyond ‘so you actually get through the whole story’).
I love this idea of telling myself the story.
Lately, I have been motivating myself by trying to get excited about my novel, and not just the overall concept or individual characters, but individual moments. I’m currently writing a scene where Hart tracks down a printer who has been spreading heresy, and before I write and as I write, I try to keep in mind the exciting things about the scene:
A new character, Master Hairan, to meet and discover, who has a past before this moment that effects his decisions and how others react to him.
A new invention, the printing press, to develop – in this world, what would it look like? How would it work? – and to be inspired by the trevithicks invented in “The Keeper” and continue in that vein of industrial revolution.
A new location, Bywell, to create – what makes this place different? what can this place teach us about Dorslien and Eviryia? – and explore with my characters.
A chance to play more with some minor characters, Vivica and Xandar, and develop them even further into real people and not simply warrior accessorize.
A set up for a big reveal: this scene and these characters are crucial to set up a huge revelation for Hart and the reader, that will not only advance the story but also grip at the reader’s heartstrings.
The more I think about the scene, and what I can do with it, and what makes it important, and what makes it exciting, the more I want to write it! At the core, this scene could be classified as ‘boring’ or an uninteresting necessity for the plot to continue, but if I think of it in those terms, the scene will read that way: boring, uninteresting, unimportant. But it’s not! I have discover for myself, and therefore for my reader, what makes this scene – and every scene – exciting!
Now I’m going to go finish writing it. Because it’s an important scene after all.
Here are some more of my favorite Terry Pratchett quotes to leave you with:
Light thinks it travels faster than anything but it is wrong. No matter how fast light travels, it finds the darkness has always got there first, and is waiting for it.
They say a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, but it’s not one half so bad as a lot of ignorance.
Fantasy is an exercise bicycle for the mind. It might not take you anywhere, but it tones up the muscles that can.
It’s still magic even if you know how it’s done