Only Two More Chapters #IWSG

Sheesh! It’s Wednesday already. Worse than that, it’s February already! As the first Wednesday of the month, that makes today Insecure Writer’s Support Group Day.

What makes me an insecure writer today? As you may or may not know, I’ve been working on Isto, the sequel to Thanmir War, for six and a half years now. So what the heck has taken me so long? I could blame the fact that my son is six and a half years old. Going from one child to two really upped my attention requirements and writing at home became a thing of the past.

But honestly, it’s not just a parenting problem.

I didn’t have a clear vision for this book when I went into it. I knew it dealt with consequences. Every problem in the second book is a consequence from the first book. There’d be a mysterious illness and people dying, there’d be a monster in the making and the loss of identity.

But a plot, that didn’t make.

I rushed into writing Isto, trusting my pantsing skills to carry me onward. I wrote 60K of exciting and wild adventure, and I was just warming up. More and more words poured from my fingers until I feared this book would be over 300K. But as I hit the soggy middle, I realized some of the things I put in just didn’t work in a multi-POV story. I whined and cried and sat down to figure out my timeline. I removed events, characters, natural disasters, and scrapped over 100K of writing.

In August of 2018, I finished my first draft at 190K. With feedback from beta readers and critique partners, I reworked chapters to remove unnecessary world-building and clear up some of the entries that hindered believability. I changed where I needed to and stuck to my guns in other places.

Then, in July of 2019, my longest standing critique partner made an innocent comment on one of my chapters, and I realized I had a pacing problem. When it was time to ramp up, I dallied into side details. Nobody told me I needed to rearrange events. The book worked as it was. But how could I call it done when I knew this problem existed?

Once again, I set out to rearrange events.

Here we are, February 2020, and I am two chapters of revision away from being done. I started out with only needing to rework two chapters. And of those two chapters, I’ve rewritten twelve of them. But this time, I’m certain I’ve only got two chapters left.

IWSG Question of the Month – Has a single photo or work of art ever inspired a story? What was it and did you finish it?

My answer: Nope. That was easy.

Are you a pantser or a plotter? Does it ever seem like when you squash one problem, another pops up? Have you ever revised something so much, that it no longer resembles the beast you started with?

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You can find the sign up for the IWSG here. We owe Alex J Cavanaugh a huge thank you for thinking this blog hop up.

Loni Townsend

About Loni Townsend

Wife. Mother. Writer. Ninja. Squirrel.

25 thoughts on “Only Two More Chapters #IWSG

  1. I’m more of a “planster” than anything else.

    Good luck with those revisions!

  2. Hi,
    Congrats and good for you. Two more chapters and you’re done. I’ve been caught in that same situation and I’ve found out that when you began to revise or change something in a manuscript, it might affect the whole book. At least that is what happened to me.
    It took me over six and half years to get my first book finished, so don’t worry about the timing. The main thing is that you didn’t give up.
    Wishing you all the best.
    Shalom aleichem,
    Pat G @ EverythingMustChange

  3. I know it’s been a struggle. Hopefully when you finish those last two chapters, it’s done!

  4. It’s so close you can almost taste it, right?

    I understand your dilemma. I spent a loooong time on my first story because I hadn’t really sat down and mapped it out like I should have. Now that my first draft of that story is finally done, I’m already noodling around with the outline for my next story, and it’s not coming easily. But this time, I’m going to make sure I have a good handle on the story before I begin writing. I’m tired of writing chapters and then figuring out how they might fit into the storyline.

    Keep me posted on your progress!

  5. You got it! You can get those two chapters done and the book will rock.

    • I’ve written several stories where I’ll solve one problem and then another comes up, in some cases worse than the previous one. It’s annoying. But it’s part of the writing journey; you’ll have some extremely difficult stories and other times stories that are much more manageable. I’ve been going through a similar challenge with an interdimensional time travel story I’ve been working on for almost a year.

  6. If what you started with wasn’t working, then it’s good that revisions turned it into something different. Funny how one innocent comment can turn an almost finished work into something that needs to be completely rewritten. Been there.

    Good luck. You’ve almost got this.

  7. Anna

    Congrats on being so close. I hope you can hear me cheering from here. If not, open a window. hehehe

    When it comes to pantsing or planning, I’m a bit of both. I always need a direction. So I figure out where my characters are and where they need to go. Then I add some plot points they have to hit to get there. I usually write a campfire story that looks a little like synopsis and in a crunch can be broken into pieces.

    After that the pantsing begins. If you need another reader, let me know. πŸ™‚

    Anna from elements of emaginette

  8. Hooray for having two chapters to go! That’s awesome!

    I’ve been a plotter for a long time, but these days, I feel like I’m swinging back into pantser land. And I REALLY don’t want to be here. But every time I work out one scene lately, it messes with twelve others. I’ll get there eventually, I’m sure.

  9. Jennifer Lee Hawes

    190k? WOW. I don’t think I could even write a 90k novel!! I’m such an underwriter when it comes to story telling. Have you read Save the Cat! Novel edition? It might help you fix those pesky places that still need editing!

    • I haven’t read the Novel Edition (I didn’t actually know it was out there). I liked Save the Cat! so I’ll have to check it out. The problem I’ve found when trying to apply structure to my story is that I know the theory behind what each point is, but I can’t for the life of me identify what that looks like in my story in order to apply it. Maybe the novel edition will give me insight that’ll make me finally go “OH! I SEE!”

  10. I’ve had to cut but never rearrange so I can only imagine how stressful and time consuming it is. But it sounds like you are finally nearing the end.

  11. I’m not a pantser. I could never write a story if I didn’t have a rough synopsis of the plot first. I tried, and it never worked. But it’s great that you’re finally in sight of the finish line. Good luck.

  12. Awesome that you only have two more chapters to finish. I outline the big plot lines and then outline each chapter as I go. I’m watching pacing and word count as I go so I don’t have to slash so many words with this manuscript when I revise.

  13. C.Lee McKenzie

    Well, you didn’t stop, now did you? For that you get a Gold Star and a huge pat on the back. Instead, you recognized that you still had work to do, and you’re doing it. Sound like you’re in the homestretch. Yay!

  14. My very first novel (third to publish- An Honorable Man) started out very different and embarrassingly amateurish. It went through LOTS of changes before being published. The basic plot held true, but character ages, motivations, and even one character’s name changed before it was done.

    Anyhow, I’m cheering with you over Isto! Go, go, go!

  15. Congrats on the progress and the tenacity. Happy IWSG!

  16. You know, that’s what makes you an awesome writer. I will read stories that have so much promise, but there will be a little something missing. Sort of like fries without the salt. Good, but could be better. Not letting something go until you feel it’s at its best is a very good thing. Readers will appreciate it.

    I used to be a pantster. I am now a plotter. It is so much easier to keep a plot on track when there is a plan. I don’t plan out every scene and subplot, but the major plot- the beginning, middle, and end- I will plot out. It saves time and headache.

    Also, you are so right about it being hard to go from one to two kids. I swear, it was easier to add the third and fourth to the brood than adding another to an only.

  17. Only two chapters left! THIS IS WHAT DETERMINATION LOOKS LIKE.

    Pat yourself on the back, Loni. You are KILLING IT!!

  18. Hey, you’re getting close! Two chapters is nothing! Nothing!

    (Oh, and I totally get the two kids really changing everything)

    I’ve started to practice I guess you call “plantsing?” I plot out a few high points I need to reach, and then I take whatever road I need to get there. It gives me enough freedom to have some fun, while still having the structure to know what I need to do to get to the end. Fingers crossed, it’s working so far.

  19. Hooray! Two chapters to go! That’s fantastic. You are so close! πŸ™‚

  20. Sarah Brentyn

    Long road, my friend. But so happy to hear you’re close to The End. πŸ™‚ Cheers! I’m 110% pantser and I’ve never wanted to be anything else. That said, I don’t have much to show for it (in the published world). I’ve never had a revision issue but see previous statement.

  21. Wow! You’ve put so much work into the story.
    So close to the end. Keep going!
    You got this… I know you have!

  22. I’m a plotter. I admire people who can do the pantser thing, but if I tried that, I’d never finish a project.

  23. I’m a pantser too, and what I can say by way of encouragement is this–it definitely gets easier. I used to loathe rewrites. Each book seemed to require a million of them, and I was often guilty of starting a novel in the wrong place, or forgetting a crucial element (like the FBI in a book that dealt with multiple kidnapping cases in the U.S.). The book that was just released was an older one, and I had to chop 100K from it to make it saleable.

    However, it’s gotten a lot easier. Now my rewrites are minor, and two or three run-throughs (mostly for typos) is enough. I know where to start a book, though I still struggle with endings at times.

    I hear your frustration. Having a book take years to complete would frustrate me too. But you can always start over. I finally did that with an early one of mine, and it resulted in a much better book (and less frustration!)

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