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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”?