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Writer’s Craft # 124 – The Need For Speed

June 10, 2013

Kristene Perron

Kristene Perron

Kristene is a former professional stunt performer for film and television (as Kristene Kenward) and self-described ‘fishing goddess’. Pathologically nomadic, she has lived in Japan, Costa Rica, the Cook Islands, and a very tiny key in the Bahamas, just to name a few. Her stories have appeared in Denizens of Darkness, Canadian Storyteller Magazine, The Barbaric Yawp and Hemispheres Magazine. In 2010 she won the Surrey International Writers’ Conference Storyteller Award.

Kristene is a member of SF Canada. Her novel, Warpworld, is the first in a five book adventure science fiction series, penned with her Texan co-writer, Joshua Simpson. The second book, Wasteland Renegades, will be published in July 2013.

She currently resides in Nelson, BC, Canada but her suitcase is always packed.


The Need For Speed

The throttle is your friend. This valuable piece of wisdom took me far too long to learn when I started my stunt training in motorsports. Dirtbikes, jetskis, snowmobiles, it didn’t matter what I was riding, 99% of the time it was more speed, not less, that would get me out of trouble. It’s counterintuitive to hit the throttle when you’re afraid of crashing, but momentum works miracles.

Writing a first draft is no different – speed is your friend. Do you have a manuscript you feel you have been working on forever? Or maybe you have a piece of work that started out brilliantly but now sits unfinished, gathering dust, staring at you accusingly? Why?

The heart of creativity is risk. Nothing will take down a first draft faster than that moment you start to worry about crashing, about getting it wrong. You ease off the throttle, start editing when you should be writing, start questioning when you should be savouring the literary wind in your hair. Start doubting. Next thing you know, that spark of brilliance has vanished and the blinking cursor of death taunts you. Blink-blink-blink…You-really-suck. You stop.

First draft, rough draft, draft zero, however you choose to label your first attempt to turn ideas into words, that’s the time when nothing matters more than getting to the finish line. There is no wrong. The end product will be messy, it may be spectacularly stinky-bad, but it will be complete. You can now lift your hands over your head and say, “I did it! I am amazing!”

When you’re done, take a good look at that stinky-bad manuscript and consider that crashing wasn’t nearly as terrible as you imagined it would be. In fact, it can be kind of fun. And, hey, if you can finish a first draft, surely you can finish a second?

Have you ever stalled out on a first draft? How did you find the momentum to keep going?

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. June 10, 2013 8:37 am

    Yes! I started writing my second ms in January. Everything flowed until I reached the last piece of the book. I didnt know how to end it. So after a couple of weeks of indecision, I decided that I would tell my muse my intention, and let her take it from there. Basically, I closed my eyes and let intuition take over. That worked wonders. I have now finished my first draft and cant wait to clean up the stinky mess that it is.

  2. June 10, 2013 9:58 am

    Wow I can’t believe you did all that. It was so exciting. I loved the interview. Best of luck to you.
    Linda Hays-Gibbs author of:
    My Angel, My Light As Darkness Falls
    Angel in My Heart Devil in My Soul

  3. June 10, 2013 12:03 pm

    I will now forever link writing a first draft with jet-skiing. I had always thought my haste was perhaps a bad thing, but you have given me a whole new set of images to associate it with. Stunt writing – I like the thought of that.

    As for not stalling out on a first draft. I always start giving out chapters to friends and family as I go. They, out of love or genuine appreciation for my writing (perhaps it is best if I don’t know which), keep slavering for the next chapter. That keeps me going.

  4. June 11, 2013 4:16 pm

    Rock on! That was just the advice I needed to hear right now, as I’ve got a deadline to start a new series and Camp NaNoWrimo is in July. Guess what I’ll be doing next month? Thanks for the kick in the pants!

  5. Giddyup! permalink
    June 11, 2013 5:14 pm

    Wow, exactly what I needed to read right now, as I sit down to pound away on the keyboard. Thanks!

  6. Lynda Williams permalink
    June 15, 2013 6:26 pm

    Something to help me get on with the challenging chapters at the end of Part 10: Unholy Science, my magnus opus. Last half of the last book taking me toooo long. Giddyup indeed! It it’s never drafted, it will never get perfect.

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