Monday, May 16, 2011

WIP Woes

What? WIP woes? Writing is supposed to be FUN! My hobby. My passion. This is what I do when I need to find my happy place. There is no crying in writing!


Okay—so here’s the dealz. I LOVE my new WIP. LOVE. IT. I don’t know that I’ll ever publish it. But I do know that I love, love, love my babies. I love my premise. I love crafting scenes and dialogue. I really, really LOVE my not-so-shiny ms.

What’s wrong then?

It’s el PLOT-o that has me stymied. It’s not because I don’t have one. I just don’t have a well-defined one. Well, I did. Then the “What ifs” entered my brain.

And with that entered a ton of frustration.

Here’s a run-down of my writing ride with my current WIP:

Spring 2009: idea for series of companion novels on seven deadly sins


(PS—completed envy novel May 2010—querying now)

January 2010: brainstorm novel on lust (aka the current headache WIP)


September 2010: Begin writing the lust book


October 2010: 20K complete; still writing; hitting murky middle


November 2010: 40K in – break for revisions on envy book

MOOD: HMMMM (subconscious working)

December 2010: continue writing. Hit 55K. Hit a wall. Novel has grown fifty wings and taken off in twenty-five different directions. Decide I don’t like where it’s going. At. All.


January, February 2011: break on lust book. Work on major overhaul of front end of envy book

MOOD: LA LA LA (subconscious working)

March 2011: re-outline lust book. My original midpoint suddenly becomes my climax. I have so many scenes I’ve always wanted to insert to add richness to the novel. I sketch out several scenarios and try to tame the wild beast.


April 2011: edit and rewrite. Hit chapter eight. A thousand “what ifs” pop in my head—again.


By mid-April I was one frustrated mama.

I knew where I needed to go, I just couldn’t execute the next step. I came back to the same chapter several times. I wrote two different versions. Then I didn’t write anything for several days. I felt like I had to get this stupid chapter finished and make some fairly crucial decisions (ugh) before I could move on.

Or did I?

Just so you know—I’m a linear writer. I write start to finish. I NEVER put an X in the middle of my books and come back to it later. I nevereverneverevernever jump several scenes ahead or write those scenes that pop into my head as I see them. I do the same thing when I read. NEVER skim. NEVER sneak a peek at the ending. For me, it’s just cheating. And discovering how it ends is the motivation I need to get me there.

But I already know how this book ends.

And so, four weeks ago I became a . . .

*swallows hard*

I became a non-li—

I became a . . .


*hanging banging my head*

A non-linear writer. I know. It’s shameful. I skipped chapter eight and wrote what I’m certain will be chapter twelve. I wrote the midpoint. Right now I’m writing the climax.

I’m not proud. I feel very much like I’m cheating. I don’t know why. I know of quite a few successful authors who write this way.

But I don’t like it—for me.

But you know what? I’m writing. And I figure that maybe . . . maybe if I write the ending, then the beginning will come (Yes—I totally just had a Field of Dreams moment) And it has—sort of. I just re-re-re-outlined the first ten chapters, and I think (maybe) that I might just be happy with it.

It’s like I tell my math students who’ve been staring at the intimidating word problem for TOO LONG. Just write something down. It gets your brain moving. Before you know it, you’ll write more stuff down. And more stuff. And before you know it, you’ve solved the problem.

Maybe that will happen for me.

And maybe, just maybe I’ll finish this novel—you know—like two freaking years from now.

How about YOU? Any woes in YOUR writing world that you need to conquer?


  1. Hahahahaha......sorry! It's just that I can so relate to this. My nano story is pretty straight forward. My original wip.....well.....the plot needed some work. So instead of giving up, I write parts I know about. Scenes. Bits and pieces. And I'm finding that the other parts work themselves out in the meantime.

    Don't bang your head too hard! It'll be okay :) Maybe you're getting ready for a big breakthrough!

  2. I used to be a nonlinear writer, but I swapped over in recent times. But if you're well and truly stalled, then I say go for the nonlinear approach!

    As for my own woes - I'm taking a break from the major one, and revising another novel to give myself a "break". But I'm still itching to get back to the woeful project.

  3. Awesome post! I would have to say that currently, my woe is that progress on my WIP is slow. Or, at least, it seems that way when I'm nearing the end and just. want. to. get. that. first. draft. done.

    Anyway, I love reading your blog, so I'm awarding you with the Versatile Blogger Award.

    I'm also passing the rules for accepting this award:

    * Thank the person who gave you the award and link back to their site in your original post.
    * Tell us seven things about yourself.
    * Pass along the award to five newly discovered bloggers.
    * Contact these bloggers and let them know they got this award.

    It’s as simple as that. Hope you accept!

  4. You'll figure it out, kid. :) Hang in there.

  5. I think if having something to write towards helps you to get through your current blockage then it can't be a bad thing to shake up your process a little! My current WIP woes are that I'm finally, finally heading into the third act but it's lacking a detailed outline and if I do this wrong it could end up feeling like a different book tagged on the end since I've lost a companion character and will introduce new characters. Scawy. I'm just going to have to throw down some ideas and make it work (yay Tim Gunn).
    - Sophia.

  6. Good for you! Sometimes we have to jump past the sticky part and work on it when we're ready. My problem is my internal editor currently. It won't let me get this 2nd draft fast enough.

  7. Don't be ashamed. Welome to the club. sometimes I have to write my book from the end up to meet the middle b/c I always know how the book will end. It's the middle that kicks me. And, I always peek at the end of any novel I read. Especially, if it makes me squirm and there are too many 'what ifs'. I'm like a child on Christmas morning.

  8. I am working on a new WIP and plot is always the issue for me. But I'm trying to forge ahead and remind myself that I can always fix it in later drafts.

  9. omg my brain just... shut down. I'm a linear writer through and through. I'm actually jealous of people who can write out of order--so I say, enjoy the change :)

    My current woe is that I'm in that murky middle part and it's taking me FOREVER to find the motivation to write it. So, I WISH I could cut to the end first. :)

  10. When I started out, I thought that writing beginning, middle, and end in order was the way to do it. But I kept having thoughts about the end before the middle and the middle before the beginning. So now I try to follow the story, but if the end is just itching to be written, well... I must go with that.

  11. I totally understand! I'm also a linear writer. Sometimes I get stuck on a chapter and I'm tempted to jump ahead but I never do, because even though I have an outline (always!), I never know what might happen in a chapter as I write. Something might change and then the later chapter I jumped to might not work. So I always muddle through, knowing I can revise it later.

    But...having said all that, don't feel guilty for writing the parts that have you excited. You have to do what works for you, even if it's uncomfortable. Because obviously, this did work for you.

    Good luck!

  12. You are so stinkin funny. Great post - - but I'm sorry the WIP is being naughty (...get it? Lust = naughty ... hahaha).

    Hang in there.

    You are awesome, and you can do this!


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