Scrapping it or Powering Through

toomanybooksHey all.  Been a busy week, sorry I went a bit quiet.  A lot of work and a lot of fun in the sun.  For those who don’t realize, fun in the sun usually means my pale writer skin gets burned.  Badly.  Thankfully, not so this time!  Only minor burns on my neck and shoulders.

My genius of a brain decided to get a brand new novel idea despite me working on five billion things at once.  I suppose I shouldn’t complain…that just means I have more ideas for when I finish my current projects.  I still don’t have much in the ways of a more children’s book like my mom wants me to write.  It’s hard to wrap my mind around that concept.  I don’t know what’s acceptable for kids these days.

Anyway…

Down to Business

So the boyfriend and I are at a friend’s apartment.  Just visiting, you know.  And she brought up something that kind of sparked this whole blog post.  She mentioned going back through a novel she’s been working on for a couple years now…and hating absolutely everything she wrote on it.  And I can understand that feeling.  First drafts are often…first drafts.

But the question is…scrap it or power through?

The Conundrum

I’m sure many writers have been in my friend’s place.  Hell.  I’ve been there.  Do I scrap everything I’ve written so far or do I power through to the end?  It’s a really hard choice.  And both technically have their benefits.  But do you throw away everything you’ve done so far…or do you power through like a tank?

To be honest, I’ve done both.  It just depends on the situation.

Those in favor of scrapping it…

Scrapping it allows a new slate.  Nothing tainting it.  Personally, I find that a bit daunting at times.  But it’s exciting at the same time…keep what you liked from the old draft and move forward entirely.  Kill your darlings!

And you can of course rescue things you liked from the old draft…right?  Right.  I suppose that depends on how much of a stickler for ‘scrapping it’ you are.

When I find myself scrapping things, it’s usually an older idea that I just can’t get to work anymore.  Or that I entirely forgot what I was wanting to happen.  This happens more often than you’d think.  I usually remember vague concepts, have a moment of “OH YEAH THIS WAS SO COOL WAY BACK WHEN”, and stare at the document as I try to figure out the actual plot.  So that’s when I scrap things and start over.

Those in favor of powering through…

I’ll also admit that I usually fall into this category.  I think there is a benefit to this.  I like calling a first draft a vomit draft…and for a reason.  It’s the “get it on paper” draft.  Get it out of you.  One way or another, finish that damn story.  Beginning, middle, and end.  Done.  Bam.  Now you have this (possibly) awesome piece of work to play with.  What you don’t like can always be fixed in the revision process.

But sometimes it just doesn’t work.  Sometimes novels just don’t want to be finished like this.  Sometimes something just went vitally wrong in the planning process, the writing process, something process.  And it has to be started over from the beginning.

This method is daunting in an entirely different way.  You know, the “OH GOD HOW DO I FINISH A NOVEL?!” sort of way.  Even after completing a few novels…the idea of finding the end to one is a bit…scary.  I don’t always know where my novel is taking me.  So just powering through can be really, really intimidating.  How long is it going to take?  Are my characters going to make it out alive? (no.)  There’s a lot that can be hard to handle.

WHICH WAY IS BEST?!

I don’t really know…

I’ve done both.  I’ve powered through, I’ve scrapped things.

But I can say that I usually power through a novel.  I think that scrapping it maybe works best if you write really fast…and maybe have a lot of ideas?  Then you can prune down ideas in the next draft.

I don’t know.

What do you guys think?  Do you usually power through a novel or do you usually scrap things and start over?  Or do you fall into the same party as me?

~LL Lemke

 

and as a bonus, here’s my new hair color.  I had fun with hair dye!

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Red tips!

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3 thoughts on “Scrapping it or Powering Through

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