|Photo credit: xandert from morguefile.com|
The good news is you don't have to perfect the earlier scenes in order to keep going. You just need to keep track of changes you'll need to make during the next draft. In other words, NOTE the needed changes, but don't actually make them.
At the end of your drafting session, go back to earlier sections and highlight material that you will need to change. (This function is in the Font menu in MS Word.) Drop notes to yourself in brackets about why you plan to revise and possible ways you might do so. Voila! You've captured your ideas without losing your flow.
BracketsIE likes my drafts to read very smoothly the first go-round, which is of course, ridiculous. Drafting is messy. It's about getting ideas onto paper/screen as quickly as possible.
When IE starts nagging me about something I've left out, I've realized I can usually shut her up pretty fast if I leave myself a quick note in brackets.
Some of my messier dialogue looks like this:
T: [action beat] What are you doing?
D: What does it look like I'm doing?
T: Hiding. We do have a dishwasher, you know.
[Describe: He steps closer, sweeps a little cloud of bubbles off her nose. Her visceral reaction.]
At at a later phase, I can decide how many dialogue tags I need, if any. I can also take the time to hunt for the perfect words to describe how my protagonist reacts bodily to an intimate gesture from someone she's fuming mad at.
Alternately, I might decide I don't want these characters fighting at this juncture. I may end up tossing this whole scene. The lovely thing is, I haven't agonized over the wording and become so married to it I can't bear to part with it. It's a choppy little experiment I can revise or cut with no hard feelings.
SlashesThere are times of day when my inner dictionary-thesaurus goes kaput and I can't readily call to mind the perfect word to capture my meaning. When I'm otherwise on a roll, I don't want to waste energy googling synonyms or flipping though reference books. Instead, I just plunk down a word cluster that approximates my meaning, separated with slashes. For example:
Towels from the middle of the stack slip and he dances/skitters/flounders around trying to right them.
During revision, I can search for slashes and make a decision then, based on what sounds best in the line and doesn't echo something else on the page.
What tricks do you use to keep the Inner Editor quiet when you're drafting? Have any other ideas for keeping your flow going?