Over the weekend, yesterday, I was I was going through the process of teaching my son about comedy. He’s almost seven, so EVERYTHING is hilarious, and he’s also very keen to make jokes of his own.
I’ve noticed a change in his joking habits lately, in that the words are ones that go together more, so he’s associating them better. Whereas before it would go like this:
Car for dinner
Now it will be something more like Car on the road. He’s still working with language so he understands the concept of homonyms (if not by name), and that a car can have tyres and be tired, or that a dog barks and a tree has bark. He’s not shy about putting the words together, though he’ll ask after each joke “Was that funny, Daddy?” I try to be more honest with him, but without being a jerk about it (for one, he’s my son!), so will tell him when I found it funny, and when I didn’t get it. Yesterday after one such joke, he tried to explain it, and I said it didn’t make sense. His reply was the same as the post title – “It makes sense to me.”
With those words, a lot more made sense to me.
In the early hours of Saturday, I finished the first draft of For More Than Earthly Ends. Like, done. 77335 words, or thereabouts. Scrivener itself gives me two different figures, but that’s close enough. This is the one I’ve been working on since before November, and writing since November. The last four months have been slower than the rush of 52K words that came out of November, but March was a better month with 12K coming from it alone. The rest of the 13K were split over December through to February, but I hope that’s more to do with post-nano hangover and start of a new years.
I’ve started a break period in which I’m supposed to abstain from working on the second draft, but have also sent it out to a few people that asked for a copy. There’s already been some early feedback come through, and what’s surprised me most is that it’s not been about elements I was worried might be too vague or ambiguous. There are things I already knew I had to change, though what’s surprised me is that some of it has been around a lack of clarity on elements I thought I’d been too heavy-handed with. Already seeing some ways forward that could help make the next draft much stronger, but at the moment trying to resist the urge to immediately dive back in. The story itself needs more clarity – the elements need a tighter connection, and rather than holding back on summations that explicitly state what happens, put them in.
It definitely reinforces the need for early readers to look at your work, since a lot of what you see and follow through your story won’t be obvious to everybody. You don’t want to be predictable, and one of the troubles you might encounter as you write is feeling that you’re writing something very predictable because you already know what happens. You might be telling the story, but you can’t read it as a reader. Even if you forget the nuances of characters and the minute details of a scene, you don’t forget the big picture.
It might hit the ego a bit to have people provide these details early on, but it’s something you need to get used to and something you must take advantage of! While you know what changes you want to make in a draft, you may not see the changes you need to make.