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
MOOD: CAN’T WAIT
September 2010: Begin writing the lust book
October 2010: 20K complete; still writing; hitting murky middle
MOOD: FRUSTRATED, but still EXCITED
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.
MOOD: DAZED AND CONFUSED
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 . . .
I became a non-li—
I became a . . .
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?