So here’s the dealz…I started writing this story, and about two-thirds of the way through, I decided I hated it. It's direction bored me. It was way too PG for my tastes. I didn’t like the choices my main characters were making…it just felt WRONG. So I trashed it and started all over. I replotted, started writing again, and I fell back in love with my story, my characters…EVERYTHING.
Good move, right?
Then, I got stuck. And I reread the old version (bad, bad, BAD!). And there were parts of the old version I re-fell in love with and just couldn’t let hit the cutting room floor. I had to keep that part about this guy and that girl and this thing and if I did X, Y, and Z in my new version, I might be able to salvage those scenes that made my heart sing and swoon. So, I stuck them in.
Then, I skipped around. I wrote the climax before I even arrived at the midpoint. I found myself piecing together scenes, trying to make my story go in directions it didn’t really want to go, all because I couldn’t bear to part with this scene or that character or this subplot. And when I sliced and diced and reattached scenes, I found myself sewing my manuscript together with football-sized seams. My novel looks like something out of a horror movie. A beast. A monster.
I don’t write stories like this! Even my fly by the seat of my pants methodology for my other three projects didn’t explode into this debacle. I actually plotted this one! But that’s the nature of this beast. It has too many characters and too many plot lines and too many things I just don’t want to cut and well, frankly…it’s one hot mess.
And as I tried to keep practically everything fantastic from both versions, the thing that suffered the most?
Something I usually DON’T have a problem with.
Flow is the ability of a writer to create a seamless document. The story undulates from one page to the next. Words connect, sentences make sense, the transitions are strong. Everything just well, flows.
In a recent issue of Writer’s Digest, author David Morell (First Blood) said The flow of words from our mind to the page is impeded in two main ways—if we try to make the story do something that it doesn’t want to do, or if something in us isn’t ready to face the full implications of the work’s theme and emotions.
My relationship with my WIP—definitely the former. I had a gazillion awesome ideas and I wanted to incorporate ALL of them.
To maintain flow, Morell suggests literally asking your WIP questions, “What do you want to do? Where do you want me to go with you? Why are you stalling?” This almost always creates an imagined response along the lines of, “This scene is boring. “ Or, “This section is full of gimmicks. Why aren’t you being true to the subject?”
And that was it. I wrote boring scenes. I got all gimmick-y and cute and blah.
An author needs flow so that the writing reads and sounds perfect.
And my story needs flow so that it will seem, er…seamless.
Part of me wants to give up on Franken-novel, leave this monstrous horrid beast in solitude so that no one will ever have to look at him. Bu-ut I LOVE my characters and I want the world to know them too. Some scenes do flow so naturally, I read them again and again just to ensure myself that this novel is worth saving, that it’s not just a piece of put-to-gether junk. But I also know I have a lot of work to do. And the story? It’s so beautiful and full of feelings and I know it’s in there somewhere. I just have to de-beastify my ms and find it.
And I will. I’ll find the beauty in the beast. And to help me replot and find my flow, I invested in this
First Draft in 30 Days provides you with a sure-fire system to reduce time-intensive rewrites and avoid writing detours. Award-winning author Karen S. Wiesner's 30-day method shows you how to create an outline so detailed and complete that it actually doubles as your first draft. Flexible and customizable, this revolutionary system can be modified to fit any writer's approach and style. Plus, comprehensive and interactive worksheets make the process seem less like work and more like a game.
I was going to use it for the shiny new ms dancing around in my head, but I’ll try it out on Frankie first. I know I’ve already got my first draft, but maybe it will help me solidify things on round two. Make it seamless and properly fastened and bolted together.
And maybe one day my Franken-novel will morph into a real (seamless) story.
*The real Frankenstein is actually the scientist, not the created monster. But for the purpose of this blog post, please assume the misconception: Franken-novel is the monster.
What's YOUR WIP issue? Have YOU ever created a monster? Have YOU seen any good horror or sci-fi flicks lately?