Thursday, October 15, 2015

NaNoWriMo 2015 Prep: Banishing the Inner Editor by Emma Gates

Banishing the Inner Editor

NaNoWriMo is perfect for a 'pantser' author like me.

I tend to agonize over every word, every sentence, every paragraph. I scrutinize white space, commas, and the placement of italics.

I re-wrote my first romance for adults, 'Detours', about twenty times and still found misspellings on its recent final go-round for publication as a Kindle version! In my defense, I'm not a terrible speller; I learned to write in England, whose spelling of some words, and punctuation for dialogue, differ from U.S. style.

I produced three more novels for publication with subsequently decreasing angst and obsessive-compulsive attention to detail. Yet I am still hounded by a knuckle-rapping, scowling internal editor who grimaces at everything I write. Perhaps it's the ghost of that one Headmistress in Chiswick, who kept boxing gloves hanging behind her door as a deterrent to fighting: those caught were obliged to perform their battle in Assembly, before the entire student body.

So NaNoWriMo, to me, means freedom! In fiction, I'm a cinematographer running after characters, trying to record all they do, say and experience with a pen as camera. I don't know how these characters come to me. They get onstage and take on lives of their own.

Perhaps writers who outline, or make character charts and diagram plot points, don't need that stern inner editor as much as I do. Their stories might flow in beautiful logic toward fitting finales. My first drafts feel more a like a meander in thick woods where one never knows which path to take or where it might lead.

In NaNo land there are no paths: only the furious giddy rush of forward travel. Even when I bump into trees, roots, rock, reggae (thanks Bob Marley!), it doesn't matter, because the play is the thing (thanks Will Shakespeare!). I let story take me on a wild ride and emerge, flushed and triumphant, with word count intact even if said story is manic mumbo jumbo. Banishing the inner editor gives me mania to work with, a good chunk of sojourn whose riches my character can plunder until their satisfying conclusions become visible, as the forest becomes trees and the paths between are lit by aha moments.

I don't claim to understand this magic even after being a writer since I first held a pencil. Yet I trust its power to create vivid worlds, and I hope that inner editor, who I allow back in December, will produce a satisfying read.

Last year I began, fittingly, a sequel to 'Detours' during NaNaWriMo. Who knows what enchantments await this year?

About the Author

Award-winning writer Emma Gates was born in New York and spent her childhood in England. She earned a BA in Spanish/Latin American Studies from Indiana University Bloomington, and an MBA with concentration in Arabic/Middle Eastern Studies from Thunderbird. She worked for three years in Mexico and five in Saudi Arabia. She is a international business and telecoms expert living near Chicago with her family and an inscrutable cat. Find her on GoodReads or on Amazon.

Book Info

In 1972, a time of tumultuous political and social change, Clare and Lowell are idealists on opposite ends of the spectrum. Lowell is an ambitious grad student expecting an elite career in the Foreign Service and Clare is an earnest freshman antiwar activist. When they meet at Indiana University, an unlikely passion begins. Detours is a sensual and intelligent romance exploring politics, culture, and self-discovery in a story that spans more than a decade and travels from the States to Beirut, Mexico City, and Kuwait. The journey is spellbinding and unforgettable.

Detours is available on Amazon.

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