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?