So, Here’s the Thing…


I didn’t send out chapter four of my WIP yet. The reason’s really simple. I don’t have chapter 5 settled yet.

See, I ran into a small problem, and I’m concerned about it a bit. The milestone I’m writing toward is taking longer to reach than I hoped. I can’t figure out if it’s because I added too much bullsh!t and not enough gunsmoke, or if it’s because I’m a bad writer, or whether I’m just a poor planner.

I figure maybe it will help if I sort of sound out each option and give you all a chance to chime in if you’re a mind to.

1. Too much BS, not enough GS

The set up for this story is taking more time than it should. That likely means a couple of possible things:

  1. I’m not starting my scenes close enough to the action;
  2. I’m including too much useless information;
  3. I’m providing too much information at the outset;
  4. I’ve left too much in the story and need to trim it back.

Fortunately, it’s a rough draft and I trim the fluff without hurting it. Right now, it’s hard to get the high-level overview I need. I think stopping and taking a look back after reaching that first milestone is going to be critical. And I have to make the milestone really count, too. Gulp, yo.

In the end, however, too much BS and not enough GS means there are too many scenes and not all of them are necessary or useful, even though they seem to be. It means there’s not enough movement forward and too much lateral movement — like talking head scenes, of which I have more than my share. That’s dangerous and can slide over into “info dumping”, Elisa Michelle. So don’t do too many of them.

There may have just been too much ground to try and cover. Maybe a good trimming is all it needs, but I may have to rework some things to be able to get this story to its fightin’ weight, if you know what I mean. Right now, might be too flabby. Like Rocky Balboa in Rocky, whereas we’d like to slim down and cut like Rocky Balboa in Rocky III.

2. I’m a poor planner

But I could also need a good, solid outline. Maybe I left myself too much wiggle room. Not enough can be poison for creativity for me. I’ve detailed myself to death. But not having enough structure and outline can be a disaster too, because the story may drift off course or meander when it shouldn’t. The story structure helps avoid this, and my five-point milestone system hasn’t failed me. But maybe I need more detail about the specific scenes, and how they should be order, what they should do for the story (their purpose), and when and how those shifts occur.

I also feel the input of a good, solid first reader is necessary. And I have that, fortunately. It might be a good time to reach that milestone and then stop, reassess the process and progress, and do a bit of minor editing to strengthen things up.

Every scene has a purpose, far as I can tell (or recall, more accurately), but they are simply too many of them right now. (Ideal story structure would be 12-15 for each of the four sections of the book, but this last chapter’s thrown me, and a few times I had more than my allotted number of scenes in chapters, too. *Sigh*)

Nevertheless, the story seems to be moving. I know where it’s headed, but the path between the two points may not be plotted well enough. I’ll try tightening that and see if the problem persists.

3. I’m just a bad writer

This is entirely possible. I’m not claiming to be Hemingway or King by any means, but I do sort of assume I have some talent. It’s possible I’ve overstated things. I’ve often wondered what would happen if I hired a really able writer to write one of my stories for me. I’d provide an outline, to guide the writing, and let the wordsmith put the prose on paper. While it sucks to think you’re not as good as you think you are, it’s also time to face facts when you can’t seem to get past the fifth or eighth chapter of every book you start. And only ONE has ever been finished…IF you can call it a book. *Sighsomemore*

So, those are my excuses reasons for not sending out chapter four yet. Chapter five is pivotal, and I need it to be right before I can send it off. As I near the end of this section of the book, it’s essential to establish a tone for the rest of the way.

What’s chapter four got to do with chapter five, you ask? Well…you may have noticed, I don’t send out the next chapter until the subsequent one’s finished and ready to go. You are all a full chapter behind at this point. While you read three, I worked on five, with four waiting. Then this stupid thing hit, and now…Ugh.

So, anyone NOT doing NaNoWriMo who wants to read chapter four, please sign up in the comments with your email and I’ll send it out on Thursday when I get home. No more excuses. And thank you for your help, from the bottom of my heart. I can’t say how much it means to me.

Have a great day.

-JDT-

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6 thoughts on “So, Here’s the Thing…

  1. If the amount of my Zynga game-playing is any indication, it seems I have some time on my hands. If you want to send me the first 3 to catch me up, I can give my thoughts on 4. (That’s assuming you don’t need anymore thoughts on 1-3.)

    I think I’m good on 1-3, but I’ll fire ’em all off and let you chime in on 4 if you’re of a mind to! Thanks!

  2. I really want to participate some more… but I have to admit, I’m terrible at this. I want to be good, but I simply am not. I have a terrible memory for these things. If I didn’t read/hear/see it the day before, it’s a lost cause and I need to keep going back to remember relevant information. I could watch a movie tonight, and if you asked me a month from now what it was about, I could give you a vague “there was this chick, and some bad guys, and they did some stuff, and some explosions, and bad things happened, but in the end it was cool”, and that would be it. When it comes to sequels, I am lost – completely – without watching the previous movie before seeing the second. Matt will be sitting there saying “oh yeah! That’s the guy from before, remember? Blah blah blah”

    I just smile and nod and pretend I know what’s up, all the while thinking “what on Earth is he going on about? What guy? He’s on crack.”

    So I will have to respectfully decline the invite to beta read, as much as I would love to, I’m not a good person to be giving feed back, unless I could read it all within a couple days and then tell you what I thought.

    No harm or offense, sweetpea. I don’t mind. And I really valued your input on the first chapters. It’s fine. Maybe someday I’ll send you the whole, finished book to read. Got a Kindle yet? πŸ™‚

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