“I’ve always run by the hierarchy of ‘If not funny, interesting. If not interesting, hot. If not hot, bizarre. If not bizarre, break something.” — Jon Stewart
I’ve been working for several weeks on my second book in my first lesbian romance series. (I can’t wait to officially announce my debut novel! It’s with my editor at the moment.) But this narrative hasn’t been like the first, which seemed to come to me all at once like I was channeling some long forgotten tale. This second book has dropped into my head in bits and pieces: random conversations, glimpses of scenes, feelings.
For the last couple of weeks I’ve also had this unsettling notion that all of what I’ve written is crap. If I’m feeling bored with it and I’m the one in control of the story, then there’s definitely a problem. I was talking with a friend of mine about it and mentioned that I had written myself into a corner. More accurately, I wrote myself into a ditch, some sad rut that I haven’t been able to steer out of.
Then it hit me.
This story I’ve been laboring over is bogged down because it got off track. Somewhere after chapter two I took a side road to nowhere. But all is not lost, because what I realized is that this story is actually part of book four in the series. Or book four is part of this book… At any rate the two storylines fit together like puzzle pieces filling in the dead spaces in both. I don’t know why I didn’t see it before. I think I was lost in a maze of my own creation. Not only that, when scenes and words become too precious to be reconsidered, or edited, or cut, then you may be your worst enemy.
Make strong coffee. Deconstruct. Amend. Revise. Rewrite.
Suddenly it all makes sense. The story has life again, and it’s a full one.
This goes out to my fellow writers… Has this ever happened to you?
3 thoughts on “Getting Stuck to Find Your Way”
Yep, and you’re exactly right. It usually means I’ve tried to make the story go a way that is not organic or tried to make the characters do something that doesn’t feel right…and they refuse. I fall back on the old police adage: improvise, adapt, and overcome. Works every time. Good advice. Can’t wait to read your work!
Currently, I’m writing one book in a three to four book series. But each of the book pieces comes to me at random, and so, for the first year of writing this book, I kept trying to fit all the pieces into the first one.
(After the first 40 chapters were done) But it didn’t work until I relaxed and let it be all the different books getting written at once.
(This did mean, when my flow of thought hit, it was easiest to dump it all into the computer rather than using my typewriter for each piece, because then I had more flexibility of… Movement and transformation.) Now…this process is much slower going, as I sit down and do the hour by hour work, but not the chipping away hour by hour work of writing just one book.
Some days I feel like a fool, to be doing so many books at once, some days I feel like I can’t go on, and some days I’m deliriously elated that my brain can do this…like this…
The characters will just jump into the things out of nowhere and expect me to catch up.
So, long answer to a short question….I have this happen. 🙂 added self doubt seems to be a bigger aspect as well, since for me, there’s not an easy “end in sight”.
I personally like to see at least a hazy mirage at the end of the trek.
I also drive myself crazy writing several stories at once… putting them down as they come to me.