So I’ve got a good rough draft done of a new project, and of course, I need to sit down and edit the hell out of it, but there’s something else I need to do.
I need to paint.
My problem (especially with rough drafts) is that these characters are so brilliant and alive in my head (and on occasion – sometimes they’re just not and need to be) so I write them a bit…generically.
I even had a novella I self-published once (early on in my writing career) where I failed to let the reader know what either of the two main characters looked like! Sheesh! I corrected it, of course, but it was a good lesson to me to (a) use my beta readers before I publish and (b) give the readers the details that they need.
This isn’t limited to looks, of course. When I “paint”, I try to add in repetitive gestures or nervous ticks, mannerisms and speech patterns. For instance, in “Traveler,” Finn (our male lead) seems pretty bad-ass and together. But he has this habit of shoving his hands down in his pockets and hunching his shoulders when he’s uncomfortable – something that shows the vulnerability of a guy who had to grow up too fast and see too many horrible things in his young life.
And of course, Jessa’s brother, Danny has a very distinct way of speaking that’s equally awkward and endearing, and shows amazing contrast when he makes an astute observation.
So this weekend, it’s me and a new manuscript, and a whole lot of paint. This is how writing gets done.