In the American Civil War, many soldiers referred in their writing to “seeing the elephant” – going into battle. The idea comes from an old concept of experiencing the rare and exotic first hand, and of never really understanding a thing until one has experienced it. It’s a phrase that’s always held a certain appeal for me, and never more than now.
I’m off to see the elephant, you see.
At this year’s RWA Nationals, author Candace Havens presented a workshop on “Fast Drafting.” The object is to get the brilliant story you’ve locked away in your head out on paper before your brain has a chance to muck it up. It’s a grueling and arduous attempt, that makes NaNoWriMo seem an absolutely sane pace by comparison, but it also sounds like exactly what I need.
I’ve joined up with some other like minded authors, so we can support each other as we dive into this strange and crazy thing. And when it’s all said and done, we will surface together, accomplished, exhausted, and proud parents of a (admittedly mistake ridden) first draft. But it will be on the page, and sometimes that’s the hardest part.
I don’t know what it looks like, but I will definitely see the elephant before we’re done. And it’s as exhilarating and terrifying all at once as I would expect it to be. I look at my outlines and scene cards (I’m still a plotter after all). The dear C.A. Young has helped me hammer out the kinks (or at least smooth the rough spots) to get it as ready as I can be. So now all that’s left to do is take the plunge. And let me tell you, I can’t wait.
See you on the other side, Ray.