Work-in-Progress, Work-in-Progress 2

Revision Revelations

I had two big revelations over the course of about 12 hours regarding two separate books. One, my work-in-progress that I had set aside to be completely reworked and re-imagined. The other about my current project that is in revisions.

Work-in-Progress 2 (Clipped Wings)

As I fell asleep one night, I had the first revelation. This one coursed through me with dread. The kind that tingles at the scalp and makes the hair on your arms stand up as it worms its way into your mind.

My book is written wrong.

Now, it’s not completely wrong. Just, some of major (maybe little things building onto each other) things that make the book fit together. Certain scenes don’t fit, certain themes don’t go all the way through, and certain tones just don’t radiate through the pages the way I want them. Fixable things.

I can fix it. I think.

What knocked me back the most about this thought was that I knew how I wanted the book to make me feel. I know WHAT I want to say, I just haven’t accomplished the HOW quite yet. I’m sure I’m not the only writer who has struggled with that over the course of hundreds of pages. The first section of my book is nearly spot on, but after that it seems to drop off. As if the current beneath its wings simply died out.

There are a few options I have in mind for fixes. Here’s hoping that those work out, or at least start to form some cohesion in my threads.

Work-in-Progress 1 (Safe Haven)

The second revelation I had came to me as I collected my things to leave my house in the morning for work. Sometimes ideas hit you like somebody striking you over the head with a two-by-four. (It’s both startling and inconvenient). I made sure to write it down as soon as I got to work.

What if the house was a character?

This one came for building out a concept from my previous book into something more like a character. The setting of the novel would act more like a character, have a purpose, and show grief just like the characters. I also thought that it might be more effective to show multiple POVs for the main inhabitants of that setting.

While I’m not currently drafting this one, I’m taking my time to pull together the characters and how I’m going to structure it. I want to make sure this one is done right since I feel a strong connection to the themes and the characters. I’m planning it as a duology and would love to write them together rather than as separate entities. But that means double the planning and double the headaches.

I’m taking this one as it comes, not stressing over it too much (haha riiight).


Writer’s Block

For me, writer’s block doesn’t come from the inability to form ideas nor from a lack of creative juices. My blocks are almost always due to a lack of motivation. Deadlines and a pressure to work are supposed to pull me through those blocks. Sometimes even those aren’t enough. Writing begins to feel as if it would be a chore.

I start to avoid it.

pexels-photo-303532I avoid writing even though I know it would be good for me–like cleaning or going the gym. I should maintain my project momentum to keep away from slumps– keep spaces cleaner so chores wouldn’t take so long, or go to the gym on the way home from work so it wouldn’t feel like it interrupts my life. But writing has never before been a chore to me, even though I forget that sometimes. Usually when I write again, it feels more like stretching after sitting for too long.

I wonder why I don’t write more often.

I’ve heard some authors call this “creative constipation.” I find that term hilarious and a bit overboard for me. It’s more like a loss of momentum in my case. I just need to keep writing.

Notes on the Project:

In the spirit of regaining momentum, I will be trying out Camp Nanowrimo and setting my own goal for the end of the month. I’m hoping I can get a big chunk of my 30 chapters edited/rewritten in that 30 days. I’m being realistic though and know I probably won’t finish it all.

After a couple of weeks of frustration over not being able to bring my main conflict in sooner in the book, I feel like I’ve finally pinned down the problem and am starting some major reworks. Let’s hope I can give up some of my favorite chapters in the rewrites to make it work all the way through!

Progress 10/30


The Project and The Plan

pexels-photoStarting a writing project is like opening a new world. The story-line is a life with a blank slate, the characters like meeting new people, and every word is a new adventure. It’s thrilling and terrifying.

Though excited to start a project, I seem to be cursed with a horrific case of procrastination. Many of my personal projects, including my stories, fall to the side in favor of literally anything else. My previous retail job asks me to come back to help out? No problem. Friends suddenly want to hang out all weekend? Sounds great! New show just came on Netflix? Better watch all of it to stay on top of things!

Most never get picked back up again. Journals, blogs, and especially long-form writing projects seem to get hung up in the stir of daily life. I could blame being busy, but that would be giving myself too much slack. You can always sort out what’s most important to you by what you make time for.

The real issue is my lack of a deadline.

The Project

My current novel has been a “work-in-progress” since I started it for National Novel Writing Month in 2013. I dropped it, unfinished, until a year later. I have been re-writing and editing ever since. Years working on the same novel feels suffocating when you have no deadline to work toward and no real direction for it.

This past year I made a goal for myself to finish my “work-in-progress.” It wasn’t a New Year’s Resolution, because I don’t think change has to be dictated by the flipping of a calendar. But, I decided I want this story to be through enough drafts so that when somebody asks “Hey, how’s your novel going?” I can look them in the eye with a smile and say “I just finished it. Now, I’m just polishing it up.”

(Also, I just desperately want to work on something else).

The Plan

My previous draft had roughly 30 chapters in it. I plan to change the majority of the second half of the book, but I’m hoping to still keep it at 30 if possible. So far, I’m at 8 chapters of my third draft. (It would technically be a fourth draft but I’m not going to count the jagged-edged tragedy that was my first, unfinished draft).

My deadline for myself is November. I want to be able to start a new project in November with a clear conscience knowing I didn’t leave unfinished drafts on the back burner.

Progress: 8/30