It is all too easy to get deeply immersed in a work in progress, either on a character level, where you worry overly about what your protagonists would do next, or on a syntaxical level, ensuring your paragraphs are the correct length, and the punctuation is spot on.
Of course both are essential for a great novel. Without them both your readers can become lost in the story and the ambiguity of your prose. But both can be achieved, eventually.
The character arc is the first that should be resolved, but even here you can play around with ideas and side stories once you have set your first flush of words down onto the screen. The most important thing is just to write; there will no doubt be a stack of ideas lining up in your thoughts, and just getting the first few out allows those further back in the queue to come to the fore and be mulled over and savoured like a belgian chocolate!
I find it is much easier to reconstruct on the screen than in my mind, and with all the ideas ‘running free’ you can take a step back and take a dispassionate look.
Some writers prefer to write in isolation. I gain confidence when I have other brains to pick at, to throw ideas at. In the same way that getting my ideas down on the screen helps my thought processes, I also find I can achieve greater clarity of thought when I run a plot hook or an embryonic character concept past someone else. They don’t need to be fans of the genre, in fact sometimes it is useful that they have no preconceptions and no prior knowledge of the tropes and cliches of the genre, although spotting a tired and overused idea is of course essential prior to publication!
As for grammatical correctness, this is the icing on the cake as far as I am concerned. The priority must be the broader strokes of the story itself. Punctuation can be corrected in the final stages by a professional proofreader.
So really, what I am trying to get at, in a nutshell, to cut a long story short (pardon the pun), is:
Just. Get. Writing.
There is a phrase “take care of the pennies and the pounds will take care of themselves”, I flip this on its head and say “take care of the pounds (ie. get your initial thoughts onto the screen) and the pennies (story line logic and grammar) will take care of themselves”!
Thoughts, as always, are welcome below!
My new fantasy book, “The Jracon’s Burden” is available on Amazon now!