Tag Archives: separating yourself from what you write

Woah, There – Back it Up

I’m going to admit something painful this morning, right out of the blocks.

Are you ready?

This is it.

I didn’t want to come to my office today, turn on the computer, sit at it and think. I really didn’t. It’s not that I wanted to do anything else, particularly – I didn’t have any kittens to rescue from trees or any particularly pressing household jobs to attend to (not now that I’ve cleaned the bathroom from hell, at least. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, here’s an illustrative Tweet).

 

I just didn’t want to have to deal with my WiP today. And do you know why?

Because I’ve made a mess of it. Not a total mess – it’s not unfixable, I don’t think. It’ll take work, and unpicking, and reworking – but then I’ve done that for this book already, in quite a substantial way, so that’s okay.

*blinking hard*

Yup. Definitely fine. No pain to see here.

*cue dramatic, swelling music* I coulda been a contender... Image: gratisography.com

*cue dramatic, swelling music* I coulda been a contender…
Image: gratisography.com

This book has fallen into the ‘whoops! We went down the wrong road again!’ trap several times, and I’m not sure why. It’s not that I don’t know where I want the story to go, or that I don’t know the characters – but I keep making them react in unnatural ways to the things the plot throws at them. I’m not sure if that’s because I’m letting myself get too wrapped up in the book (in other words, my character reacts to an event the way I would, because – at that point – I am being a bad and silly writer), or because I am too concerned with getting things to happen, as quickly as possible, or a mixture of both. Maybe it’s because I’m overworking the text, a bit like dough; the story is turning tough and inflexible because I’m overthinking everything, and I’m literally going over it and over it without giving it – or my brain – a chance to rest, and prove, and rise.

I’m currently at 53,500 words with this project (though, after today, who knows?) and word counts are on my mind, too. I have an upper limit in my head which, instead of being a goal, has now become a barrier. I keep reminding myself ‘just write until the story’s done, and worry about making it ‘fit’ afterwards,’ but for some reason I’m finding that really hard to do this time – it used to just come naturally to me, before. While it’s hard to finish a book and see the word count is 95,000, or something like that (as it was with Emmeline), and realise you have a huge amount of work ahead of you to get it to fit into something more reasonable, writing Emmeline never felt like writing this current book. Emmeline is still too long, I would guess, though at least now I have some expert help in getting it to the appropriate length. For my current WiP, I’m hoping for a final word count somewhere around 65,000, but I’m just going to have to reconsider that once I get the plot shaken out.

One thing I am determined to do, however, is get this first draft finished. Then it can be left to settle and all its holes and stupidities and frankly illogical bits will rise to the top, where I can skim them off.

At least, that’s the plan.

So, I guess this is it. Time to dive back in, trace the threads of the story back to the point where my protagonist starts to make choices that are out of step with her as a character, and rip the text up from there. After that, it’s anything goes!

(Weird. That was supposed to sound positive and upbeat. Instead, it just sounds terrifying. Pray for me, dear people, to whatever it is you worship,* that the words behave for me today. I need all the help I can get!)

 

*Unless it’s Satan. I don’t really want his help. No offence, or anything.