That Point

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Image from Dreamstime

 

I’m at “that point” in my current novel.  Those of you who write will know what I mean.  I’m far enough in that the excitement and joy that I felt at the beginning of the writing have faded.  The right words seem to be slow in coming, the characterization seems to fail, and I’m alternating between over-reliance on dialogue and over-reliance on exposition.

 

I’m just over halfway through the novel and I’m convinced that it sucks.

 

That’s not true of course.  Sure, parts of it need work, but this is only the first draft (of this incarnation of the story, it’s about the fourth time I’ve attempted to write it) and there’s definitely room for improvement.  That part, I can handle, as much as I might dislike it, because that’s a part of it.

 

No, the problem is that the story hasn’t yet met my expectations of it.  It’s lagging along, with completely pointless chapters, characters that some of my critique group doesn’t find lovable, and a set of subplots that I’m not sure I have the skills to pull off.  Of course, it’s not fair of me to blame the story.  I should be blaming myself, the incompetent writer who can’t handle a simple subplot and a half-engaging chapter.

 

In short, the story doesn’t seem redeemable and I’m tempted to give up, to work on something new or, even better, to move to Florida and become an orca trainer at Sea World.

 

I have no plans of doing anything quite so drastic as moving, of course (for one thing, my co-ML would do her best to murder me if I abandoned her before NaNoWriMo) but that doesn’t mean I’m not tempted.  I don’t have any shiny new ideas right now (that and the camp deadline are probably all that’s keeping me working on this story), but if I did, I would be quite happily working away on those instead.

 

Which is exactly the opposite of the thing that will get me past that point in the process.

 

I am trying to remind myself that this is normal, that everyone feels this way, and it’s part of the process.  Neil Gaiman said it best in a NaNoWriMo pep talk a few years ago.  Everyone goes through this, but that doesn’t make it any easier.

 

No, it doesn’t make it any easier at all.  Fortunately, I only have about 5,000 words to write until things start getting exciting again.  Then I should have reached the beginning of the “momentous downhill slide” and things will get easier and easier until I can finally reach the glorious end that I’ve been longing for since word one.

 

Unfortunately, the only thing that’s likely to get me to that point is more writing.

 

A word after a word after a word.

 

That and trying not to think about how much I have to edit this.

 

What do you do when you hit “that point”?

 

Rest and Recovery

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Image from Dreamstime

 

So I took Thursday and Friday off this week.  The plan, initially, had been to take the cats to the vet, rest, and WRITE.  A lot.

 

Sadly, only two of these things happened.

 

I did indeed get the cats to the vet, and it was a resounding success.  Much better, and more hilarious, than in previous years, and I only have one scratch to show for it.  The scratch was a direct result of my impatience and my cat’s desire not to go in the carrier, rather than from the visit itself, so I can’t even count it as a strike against the experiment.

 

I also got lots of resting done.  You see, my handsomer half managed to get a stomach flu mid-week, and I caught it too.  Sadly, the half of Thursday and the Friday I had envisioned spending writing in the silence of my house were spent curled up on the couch drinking gingerale and cleaning off my PVR.

 

I only finally felt up to writing/doing anything yesterday, and that mostly surrounded knitting.  I wrote a chapter in my novel yesterday and another one today, so I feel pretty good about that, but I am still weak and (now) behind on my Camp NaNo goals.  Fortunately, the fact that I was ahead earlier in the week and that I wrote an extra 500 words both yesterday and today mean that I’m now only a day behind, but that’s not entirely comforting to the girl who’s usually confidently ahead by three or four days.

 

Anyway, I was definitely sick (when I’m too sick for surf and turf, I’m too sick for anything), so I’m comforting myself with the knowledge that resting was more important.  And it’s not worth getting angry at myself over now that I’m nearly caught back up.  Life is going to throw curve balls like that at me, and I think it’s the recovery from the setback that’s important.

 

And I’m well on my way to recovery!

Work-like UnWork

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Image from Dreamstime

 

I haven’t been writing much lately [cue the *gasp, choke, shock* noises].

 

Now, that doesn’t mean that I haven’t been thinking about writing.  In fact, I have been doing a lot in the last few days that is writing-related but isn’t actually writing.

 

1) There’s the group creative project I mentioned, that’s kind of beginning to get some momentum since we had a meeting on Saturday.

2) There’s the flash fiction and new short story idea that I have rattling around in my head.

3) There’s the critiquing that I’m doing.

 

Of the three things on the list, the last is taking up a lot of my time right now.  Not only do I have the regular, weekly chapter critique(s) that I do as part of my critique group, but we’ve all volunteered to critique a full novel for one of our members.  Of course, it’s a long novel and I’m struggling with the process of reading the work with a critical eye instead of purely for enjoyment (my usual MO).  That’s proven difficult for me and is requiring a lot more brain power than I might like.  On the positive side, though, it’s really made me think a lot more about what I look for in a novel, which has consequently made me think about what should be in a novel.  A novel like the one I’m writing!

 

The break in writing is okay, though, because chapter two of “Fighter One” is currently out for critiques and I don’t really want to continue working on it until I know what I need to fix.  Besides, I plan on working on it during June Camp NaNoWriMo, finishing it in July, and using the August camp to plan my November NaNo novel.  Then I have September and October to edit it and it’ll be done before the end of the year.

 

That’s reasonable when working on short stories, traveling for work, and trying to get a group project finished up by the end of the year, right?

 

Right?