The End Draws Near #IWSG

Wow. Can you believe it’s the last first Wednesday of 2020? Despite all that’s happened this year (earthquakes, pandemic, my mom’s cancer), it still surprises me that in a month, it won’t be 2020 anymore.

I’m thankful I’ve been able to keep working to support my family while my husband tends to the kids and the rollercoaster that is their schooling. I’m thankful my mom’s in remission and she and my dad have been able to run away to warm weather and explore the outdoors. I’m thankful for the pictures they send me. I’m thankful that tools like Zoom let me keep having critique group when the libraries closed their conference rooms. It even let an old member who moved to the east coast rejoin our meetings. I’ve lost weight, I’ve gained weight, and lost most of it again. (Four more pounds until I’ve shed my COVID 19.) I’ve spiraled into depression, dragged myself out with help from my husband, and have been pretty solid the past couple of months. I’ve upped my art game and managed to produce pieces that I’ve been pretty happy with.

But this is Insecure Writer’s Support Group day, so let’s talk about writing.

Book 2 of the big books has been a nebulous monster since first conception. I’ve always had a solid idea for the first book where my character discovers who he is, and then the third book, where he escapes from imprisonment to overcome the bad guys and exits the public eye.

But the second book? In the early conception (23 years ago) it was a history book following my character’s mother and her love triangle. That idea failed pretty quickly. Oh, she still had the love triangle, but there’s no plot to support writing a story about it.

The next iteration put the focus on my character stepping into a leadership role. I managed to jot down some scenes in the fancy new Google Docs (14 years ago) that detailed his experiences. But it suffered from the same issue as the first concept: there was no plot.

Ten years ago, I started to put serious effort toward getting down words. After I finished book 1, I had to overhaul it because the trusted friends I asked to read it absolutely hated it. This had a trickle effect into book 2, and by my first NaNoWriMo (8 years ago), I’d developed something resembling a plot that included monsters.

NaNoWriMo had me pantsing my way through events and that led to a necessary timeline revision (3 years ago) as I tried to make my multi-POV subplots mesh correctly. I finished that revision last December (1 year ago) and optimistically sent my beta readers a copy in February of this year.

Two weeks later, I pulled it back.

I’ve gotten better at writing since the beginning (one would hope that’s the case), allowing me to see bigger picture issues. My main character’s subplot didn’t focus on those monsters I mentioned and though the story worked, it made me uneasy. After mulling it over, I knew what changes were needed, and I set about avoiding actually implementing them (the pandemic hit and I lost all my personal writing time from late March to mid June, so that might have something to do with it). When I finally got around to doing the rewrites, I stalled out. Twice. I couldn’t figure out how to get a bit of information into the story naturally, and then I couldn’t figure out how to get my main character in a place where he could find this other character he needed to find.

Mid last month, I figured out how to fix it by swapping out one character for another. I’ve already rewritten two of my rewritten chapters, leaving two rewritten chapters still to rewrite, and then seven other chapters that will need reworked to reflect the subplot revision. (Enough re-words for ya?)

Am I an insecure writer? Heck yeah. I don’t know if I’ll finish my rewrites before the end of the year, which was my goal. And with all the trouble I’ve had with this book, it doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence in the end result either. But dagnabbit, I will finish this dang book! And maybe, just maybe, it won’t be terrible.

IWSG Question of the Month – Are there months or times of the year that you are more productive with your writing than other months, and why?

It’s not a seasonal thing for me. When the clarity is there, the words are flowing. If I’m stuck on something (like all the issues in book 2), they’re not.

Do you know the plot of a book before going into it? Have you had issues with in-between books in a series? Have you had a story that’s been with you for a lifetime?

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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 “The End Draws Near #IWSG

  1. Oh boy did 2020 hit hard with everything.

    Often times I’ve had a rough plot in mind, but this last one I barely had a concept right before NaNo started. It was “oh, hey, I haven’t worked with this group yet” and that didn’t pan out. I’ll go over what I managed later to see what I can salvage. There’s a few things in mind that I need to change to get the story to go.

    Yep, I have a story that I’ve been working toward. I could never get it to come out as just that story. For some reason my rewind on time and going to a character that I’ve had for a lifetime started it.

  2. I can’t wait to escape to 2021 (like magically it’ll be wonderful and not all COVIDy!). I’ve been there with that flash of brilliance to swap out characters. When it works, it’s awesome. This last book of mine, which tied up the storylines of the 14 (!) before it, was a nightmare of juggling, so I feel your pain.

  3. Making three giant stories all flow together is challenging even when they are plotted well and written in order. I hope you do finish by the end of the year.

    That is good news your mom is doing well and your parents out enjoying life.

  4. The middle book in a series can suffer from the same problem as the sagging middle does in individual books. Just keep plugging away and switching things up until the pieces fall into place and you have that “Eureka” moment and you suddenly know you’ve got it. The trouble is, you never know how long it will take to find that right puzzle piece, and it can be very disheartening to run up against that wall day after day after day.

    I wish you all the necessary mental strength to get through this impasse. Enjoy the holidays and let’s start over next year in 2021.

  5. Finish that dang book! Make it so.
    Through all the crap, keep hanging in there and moving forward.

  6. I know the basic plot points before I start writing but like to leave myself open to good changes that develop as I write and get feedback from my critique partners. It’s really made the plot for my current manuscript stronger. It sounds like you’re plugging along on yours but have a lot of other things on your plate, like family and work, that take your time, energy and focus away from your writing. That’s okay. Your writing will be there, and you’ll figure how to make your manuscript stronger.

  7. I SO believe you will finish this book and it will be the absolute BEST version it can! And I’m sorry 2020 was such a crazy ride, but it sounds like a lot of amazing things came out of it for you! Here’s to a great 2021, with much writing, no cancer, and happy children, hubbys and mommys 🙂

  8. I don’t usually know much of the plot before I start writing a book, but I know one or two really interesting characters and maybe some structural elements, and just follow them on through.

  9. That’s a lot to be thankful for. <3

    I also struggle to get information into my stories the right way. That's why I'm rewriting the first book in my "Secret Book Baby Series." I'm hoping the rewrites, when I finish them, solve all the problems.

    You will finish your book. All this work will be worth it.

  10. Let’s hope that 2021 is not just a continuation of 2020.

    AS far as a story that’s been with me a lifetime, maybe not my entire life, but since college fifty years ago (seems like a lifetime) I’ve been mulling a story that takes place in those college years. I have written parts of it, but the whole thing has never quite come together. Maybe someday.

    I wish you great productivity in the year to come.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

  11. With my big books, I have an idea of where I want the story to go. And then the story does not go there because of course it doesn’t. Then it takes me a long time (weeks, months, years, even…) to make my peace with that. It happened with the first two books, and now it’s happening with the third. I know I’ll get there eventually, but it’s hard to be patient somedays.

    You’ll get there, too, and the end result will make the wait worth it.

  12. You have some wonderful things to be grateful for. Here’s to getting those stories to line up the way you want.

  13. I’m sorry it’s been such a difficult year for you. So many of us struggled with depression this year. It truly helps to count your blessings as you have done here. I hope you are able to enjoy the holidays, and some writing time. Merry Christmas!

  14. Anna

    You must be the most stubborn writer I know. I have no doubt after all the time and effort you’ve put into your work–I’m including your glorious art as well– book two is going to rock.

    Congrats on sticking to it and getting it done.

    Anna from elements of emaginette

  15. Love your art! I especially like Derek. A gorgeous portrait. It would make an amazing book cover.
    As for your struggles with the book – I’m not sure what to say. A standard response would be: “Keep going, you can make it.” Everyone else already told you that in their comments. But sometimes stories resist to be written for a reason. Maybe you should search for that reason?

  16. And in the end, the book will be so much better for all the lifeblood you put into it. This year has been a challenge for us all, and the fact that you got anything done is amazing. When you finally get book 2 complete, you’ll know it had to be that way all along. You’ll get there.

  17. You are always so inspiring! I think the journey of your books could be a book of its own – the hero/heroine’s quest! Love the new art work – a wonderful addition to your portfolio. And I love the illustration you did for Chrys. Gorgeous!

  18. Hopefully things will continue to look up in 2021. No one needs a repeat of this year!

  19. I totally missed that this is the last IWSG of 2020 and my mind is blown by the fact. What a year. o.o

  20. You have had a lot on your plate in 2020. I’m happy to hear about your mom and that they moved to a warmer climate. Best of luck with your book. I absolutely love your header photo! It’s so adorable!!


  21. Gosh, I can’t believe it’s December. It caught me a off guard. I’m happy to hear things are better. And your art work is stunning!

    Ack, I hate the no plot thing. It’s happened to me too and it’s quite annoying. 🙂

  22. This has been a hell of a year alright. But at least we’re still standing, right?

    You WILL finish your book. If you’ve got the resilience and willpower to get through everything else the world throws at you, a book is nothing, right? 😉 I know, I know, it’s still a pain in the ass. But you CAN and WILL do it.

  23. You brought up a great point – that sometimes the words flow, and sometimes they don’t. The worst combo for me is when they’re flowing, but I can’t find time to get to my computer and type them. Ugh.

    Here’s hoping 2021 will be a better year for all of us.

  24. I do have some story ideas that have been stuck in my head for years and years. It seems like I need to finish my current one before I’m allowed to delve into the next. Everything writing has kind of been on hold while I focus on my kids education. At some point after the break, I would love to take an hour or two a week and just ease back into writing. I miss it.

    So glad to hear your mom is in remission.

  25. Hi,
    I wouldn’t even try to finish the rewrites before the end of the year. Start winding down and enjoy the Advent season. You have a lot to be thankful for.
    Wishing you all the best.
    Have a Merry Christmas and a safe and gentle crossover into 2021.
    Shalom aleichem,

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