Saturday, May 15, 2010

Just Can't Get Into It

There once was a writer who tried
A novel too deep and too wide
The inciting instance
Got mixed up with romance
And her brain felt like Cheez Whiz inside

See what I mean? I can't even write a decent limerick today.

Do you ever feel like it's just not working and you have no clue what to do? I have three main problems.

1. A point-of-view shift from one character to another (Faldur to Marenya) around Chapter 3. The story needs to be told from both of their perspectives, since they each witness part of the action. Their relationship also drives the plot, so it's important to know what they are both thinking and feeling. But maintaining a good balance between the two, so readers maintain interest in both characters, is difficult. I need to introduce her POV sooner, but the way I've done it isn't working.

2. A plot that is just to complicated. I've never had such a complex imaginary world, and I just can't seem to get the right amount of info on the page. It's either too much or too little, or too soon. Can you hear the sound of my hair ripping from my scalp as I pull it?

3. The first chapter. I have spent way, way, way too much time on it already, but I have joined two different crit groups recently and need to give them material. I need the feedback, but it's hard to go back and redo the first chapters when my mind is somewhere around Chapter 18. I don't want to waste their time, however, by just giving them the old versions as I have already gotten feedback on things that need improving.

I just want to find a mountain cabin and hide there until the book is done. Six weeks should do it.


  1. Okay, let me say this first, you say you want to start your heroine's POV sooner...can you write a first chapter from her POV and then just move the chapter numbers. She would start at one, and then the first one you actually have would be two, etc. etc.

    Second, I too, have found myself with a plot that is HUGE, so I wrote an outline with every single plot point, and took out the ones I didn't really feel like writing. It's either going to make the ms. a mess, or it's going to straighten it out. (Then you could use the dismissed plot points in Book Two.)

    Third, if you've already gotten crits back for the first chapters, give the new critters, chapters on what you need feedback on. You're right, you don't want to waste their time. And as a critter myself, I can take a chapter out of context even if I don't know the whole story. Or if you want, you could write a small, very small synopsis on the first chapters, hand that over as well as the chapters you need help with. It will help the critters follow your story but not bog you down with feedback you don't need. (Does that make sense?)

    And by the way, I LOVE your limerick. Reading it on the blogroll I had no clue, but once it was put in proper order, it's cute. My brain feels like Cheez Whiz too. Now I'm hungry.

  2. welcome to the world of writing. you're in good company. i don't know what to tell you about the first few chapters. i love the description: cheese whiz. that's about how i feel right now. anybody have some crackers?

  3. Actually, I'm thinking I'd like some fries with that.

  4. Thanks for the suggestions, Anne. I'm thinking I need to start with a totally different first scene to introduce the main conflict. I can't really open with the heroine's point of view because she's not involved in the conflict just yet. I need an action scene to grab the reader's attention.

    I'm thinking I'd like to have my crit partners read the whole thing from the beginning, so that it makes sense and they can find plot holes for me, which is why I'm pushing myself to go backward. I'm hoping this is the last major revision and I can finish the darn thing by the end of July.

  5. can i come to the mountain cabin, too? oh wait. then i'd just want to talk to you. better find my own cabin. maybe i'll get it done before i get out of town? sigh.

  6. No, you are absolutely welcome to visit my cabin, Michelle, because then we'll be competing to see who finishes first. It could be very productive.

    And we could take turns doing the dishes.

  7. So that's three in women in a mountain cabin - doesn't that remind you of the shack? No offence to your cabin meant at all.
    I think that as writer's circles are designed to help one another make progress you could go and help them but don't share your own work. That way you can keep the section you are working on fresh in your mind. I always learned a lot when other people were sharing their drafts too.

  8. I didn't read "The Shack," Elaine, so I don't know. But, the point is to get away from our families so we can actually concentrate on writing for a change. Writer's groups are nice, but it's not the same as being on retreat.

    I can only dream... sigh. Of course, then I'd have no excuses, either.

  9. I don't think six weeks in a cabin would do it for me, but it'd be a start. I'd so love to get away on my own and concentrate on just writing.

    Cute limrick.


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