Thursday, July 1, 2010

An actual post about writing

I never write about writing, primarily because it seems redundant and time-consuming. Why write about your work-in-progress when you could be writing it?

Currently, though, I've become stuck. I was coasting along for about 150 pages or so (a slow beginning but I am building a world that has lots of rules) and then I hit a rut. Instead of cranking out the pages like I usually do, I started slowing down. 1K words a day, then 500, then a paragraph tweak and I was finished. The weird thing about it was that I still loved the story! I do! I love it and I can't wait to write some of the really cool things that happen. When I'm away from the story, driving in my car or walking or otherwise not engaged in writing, I feel excited and I can't wait to get back to it. But then, with the computer in front of me, I...get...stuck.

I think I finally figured out the problem(s).

First of all, my book is in 3 sections. I love most of the first. The second must be dramatically different- darker and edgier and less optimistic. Right now, it's not. It's too much like the first section. This is why I'm finding it drag, because it's more of the same and it shouldn't be.

Second, this means rewriting before I finish. I *never* do this. Like never ever EVER. I always finish a draft before rewriting anything. Unless I can do a search-and-replace easily, I keep notes and then make changes in the next draft. But I know I can't do this. I have to get in there and change some things before I can move forward. This also prevents me from writing full out.

Third, I have a structural issue. As I said, the book is in 3 parts BUT there is also information that must be revealed and I can't figure out how to do it. I hate prologues. They're usually just info dumps. And in my book, I am using a first person POV - whose POV would the prologue be from? So I need to parse out these bits but how? In what form?

And fourth, although this is a fairly simple story, it has complex themes and lots of backstory that informs what happens (see above structural issue). Even I, the creator, don't have a complete handle on all of it. I'm finding it's a little too complicated right now and I think I might need to pare down some of it to make it easier to understand. Um, okay. How do I do that?

If you can't tell, I'm working on a story that is very different from my previously-published books, something I hope will be darker and edgier and appeal to a wider audience, maybe even guys! So it's slow-going. And lots of work.

And now that I've identified the problems, I have even more work to do.