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Thursday, November 22, 2007

Full Speed Ahead

I had planned to take yesterday off from my writing. The story was going well (I knew where it was going now and was confident I could finish it by month end) and I hadn't taken a day off all month. My local library is closed on Wednesdays, and my home was not at all conducive to writing, so I headed out to do some other things.

The day passed pleasantly enough, but I was bothered by the fact that I hadn't written. It was a persistent itch that I just HAD to scratch, but it was 8 PM by the time I realized I wasn't going to be able to get away with a day off, and I was tired and groggy. So I downed a can of Monster...

... and I played solitaire.

For hours.

"What was the problem Laura?" you ask. "You said you were gung-ho to write and you know where the story is going now."

I'll tell you: The problem was those pesky polls.

When I started this project back on November 1st, I really didn't know what the story was going to be about. I had no plot and no characters and was just making things up as I went along, so I figured that whatever direction my readers wanted me to take the story would be fine.

Then I posted the first poll.
And I was stressed out. I was worried for my poor character (who'd I'd only just made up that afternoon). What would you all make her do?

I forced myself to get over my overprotectiveness. I'd promised daily polls so we were going to do daily polls.

Then I found that the polls were starting to crimp my pacing. My own fault that, totally, because I kept asking questions the answers to which needed to be acted upon within the next moment -- but my readers have almost 24 hours to respond to each poll. Made it a little difficult for me to advance time for a bit there.

Then I wised up and started to ask questions that didn't need to be answered until tomorrow. That worked much better. I learned to go with the flow and create the story from whatever the readers wanted. I soared through 50,000 words on November 17th and the world was all blue skies ahead.

So why did I spend last night playing solitaire and stressing out instead of writing?

Because I'm running out of good poll questions.

I thought I had an idea for one, but it was four or five scenes away. I didn't really have time to worry about whether or not I would be able to write that much in one night, however, as I immediately realized that "Should India do an interesting, heroic thing that might help to advance the plot or should she stay home and sulk?" was a pretty lame question. (Although, surpassed in lameness by the alternative: Should Cleopatra wear a red shirt or a black shirt today?)

The trouble is, I now know where the story needs to go in order to reach a satisfying conclusion by the end of the month, but my readers don't. So...

I've decided to put the polls on hiatus for a week. I'm making an executive decision that I've fulfilled my polling commitment since I ran them daily through the first 50K -- which was the official word count goal. This final week is the icing on the cake, and I need to be able to run with it.

I would like to thank the people who have been reading and voting regularly for your support. I hope you will continue to visit Raindancing Dragons as I am still updating the story daily (it appears that I won't be taking a day off after all!) and we're just starting to get to the juicy part.

I will have one final poll for you which, while it doesn't have the power to be a plot-killer, will I hope at least be of some interest, so watch for that on November 29th. (Yes, I aim to be writing right through to the end of the month at this point and finish in style on November 30th.)

Back to the grindstone.

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