Cristy Burne


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Writing without editing

Takeshita Demons discoveryI’m starting a new experimental writing project.

Usually a new writing project means I’m full of enthusiasm and excitement, but the “experimental” part of this project means I’m trying to write fiction for ages 6-8,  an age group and style I’m not experienced with, am not especially well read in, and that doesn’t really suit my natural voice.

Some call it torture, I call it practice.

Writing in a foreign style means the writing hurts. I’m having to embrace the “am I any good at this? am I just wasting my time?” phase of being a writer. And BTW, I hate that phase.

So, why am I doing it?

Because I’m writing another practice novel. Recently, every time I write, it’s for publication. So this is permission to sit down, shut up and just write for a change.

Writing for children aged 6 to 8 means a short book: I’m thinking ten chapters, maybe 7000 words all-up. This is a very achievable goal.  It’s also a reasonable amount of work to do and then desert. I don’t expect this book to be publishable. I certainly don’t expect this book to be read.

I just want to see what happens.

What happens if I forcefully shut up my inner critic and write a mini chapter per writing day? What happens if I forge a story out of words without worrying about how well those words sound (or unwell, as the case may be).

I have a vague idea of what should happen in each chapter, so my plan is to just make those things happen and forget about the rest. I don’t have a voice for the book, I don’t really even have much of a character.

Both of these things are absolutely essential for a marketable, commercially viable early reader.

So what? Maybe, just maybe, these things will develop as I write, and I can go back and edit the first draft. Maybe, nothing will develop but a sense of pride that I have finished a draft, given something new a shot, and can now move back to my comfort zone: lovely, funny, quirky middle grade (sigh :-))

I’m afraid I’m writing a PILE OF RUBBISH.

But I’m writing it anyway.

xx