Two Steps Forward…


snailWell, it’s been an interesting weekend. As a writer, not as a general matter of recourse. Generally, of course, I’m incredibly boring, and you’ll need to go elsewhere to find something amusing.

If, however, you’d like to hear about this crap, please, read on.

question-markSo, if you’re still reading, here’s the deal: I had to ditch about two full chapters of my WIP and back up, then start all over. And of course I didn’t get to that until just this weekend. Saturday, to be precise.

So here’s what happened. I dreaded sitting at my computer and banging on this thing. I couldn’t figure out why I didn’t want to write. I told myself I didn’t like working without an outline the way a trapeze artist doesn’t like working without resin. But then I did some outlining last week, and when the time came to work that outline through, I didn’t want to do it. Why not? What the…?

So I decided to be honest. When I sat down to write, even with a rough idea where things ought to be headed, I didn’t want to do it. My fingers wouldn’t do it. (Time for a new keyboard?) Nope, not even the temptation of a new keyboard enticed me to sit and bang the keys. I like the keyboard I have, and I have another one I like equally well so that’s not the problem. It’s not hardware boredom. Then what?

It hit me Friday night. I just don’t like the ending I have going on.

My ending reached a place I didn’t like. I didn’t like what was happening, I didn’t like how it was going down and the direction the story had to take, and it wasn’t where it should have been to execute the climax I had in mind. I had a lot of work to do to get the thing right, and it would have dragged on and on like a drunk mother-in-law. No good.

So, I asked my awesome First Reader what she thought. She didn’t have much input, but when I told her I thought I didn’t like it, she came right out with it. “Cut it. Dump it. Get rid of the part that’s bugging you and just re-do it. You’ll be happier.”

“Yikes! That’s…don’t you mean fix it? rework it?”

“No. Whenever you do that it’s more work than you realize and you just end up frustrated and not doing anything. The story dies right there. Don’t do that to yourself. Just dump it all and rewrite it. You’ll be glad you did.”

So on Saturday, I did just that. I cut out the offending sections, went back and repaired parts which might’ve become inconsistent (I hope!), and then went forward. It was like taking two steps backward before I could progress. Like when you have to back your car out of a snowy embankment before you can go forward. Or something.

Anyway, so I lost a bit of ground there. I was at 67K before, according to my software’s word count feature. I can’t say exactly how many I chopped, but I can say when I finished pecking on Sunday I had about 71K, so progress. Progress! Yay!

I’m close. Very close. So get your reading glasses on, beta readers. I’m sure I’ll be able to wrap this up next weekend for SURE!

OH, and writers: If you don’t have a copy of James Frey’s book How to Write a Damn Good Novel II, you need it. It’s awesome. Great information. I don’t know if you’d like to start with the first book, but I dove right into this one because it’s got the more advanced techniques. Since I arrogantly assumed I didn’t require any basics help, I went for the advanced help. But I might just go back to basics when I finish, because the premise writing thing is a great angle for those who think outlining is hard. (It’s not and the book has a sneaky-easy way to do it.)

How was your weekend? Did I miss anything exciting?

-JDT-

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3 thoughts on “Two Steps Forward…

  1. Eee! Exciting! 🙂 I’m glad you cut it and started over, whoever your first reader is, has the right idea.

    My First Reader is my darling wife. She gets to see it hot off my fingertips. By the time anyone else sees it, she’s already given guidance and input. 🙂

    My weekend. Terrible. Horrible. Awful. So thankful it, along with Monday, has passed and tomorrow will start fresh.

    Wow. Bummer! I’m sorry it was so poor. I hope things did and ARE looking up!

  2. Sometimes it is best to dump sections we aren’t thrilled with and rewrite. I’ve had to do that with areas that pulled the story in directions I didn’t like, or dialogue that wasn’t strong enough and it had to be completely scrapped. Good luck with it. Sounds like you’re on a roll.

    Thanks CV. I was on a roll — but real life has gotten in my way again. I’ve been getting home too late to do much, but maybe tonight will be different. 😀

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