This whole crazy writing thing

WIP update: As of today I am 25,000 words in, and the action has really picked up. That probably means I need to chop 10k words off the front, lol, but you know, whatever.

hairglassesoffice 002 hairglassesoffice 001

Left = me thinking about all the revisions I’ll have to do.
Right = me remembering my new motto: “Fix it later!”

Seeing as it’s April 2nd, I obviously didn’t make my original deadline of finishing by April 1st. That was always sort of a haha-yeah-right kind of thing, but still. Regardless, I think I can finish before June 1st and then revise and query (perhaps simultaneously, but shhh, don’t tell!) during the summer. Remember: my 2010 goal is to get an agent. Seeing as that process can take anywhere from a few days to a few years, I’m definitely racing against the calendar.

Anyway, now that I’m almost 1/3 of the way through this manuscript, I’ve noticed a few things.

  1. Action makes life better. When I’m “stuck” and can’t seem to get any words to come out, it usually means there’s nothing happening in the story. The relatively easy solution is to throw in some action. For example, I had a scene where Zack, my male main character, was taken into custody by 2 guards. Basically they pointed to the door, and he went right in. BORING. So what did I do to fix it? I made Zack struggle and resist. And what did the guards do in response? They punched him in the face. POW! Much more interesting, and thus much easier to write.
  2. My characters are not me. That may seem obvious, but in the earlier chapters of this WIP, I found myself struggling to divorce the two main characters from me and my boyfriend. Yes, the seed for this story came from something in my relationship, but the results that sprouted from that seed are NOTHING like my reality. Furthermore, Lindsey and Zack are very different from me and Andy. In order to write their story, I had to stop asking myself what we would do in their shoes.
  3. I really do love this whole crazy writing thing. Okay, I sort of already knew that. But this manuscript has completely reaffirmed it. I think about Lindsey and Zack (and Cato!) all the time — while I walk Riley, while I drive to and from work, while I eat, while I shower, and while I fall asleep. Yet I never tire of them! They don’t frustrate me, and in fact, after I’ve spent some time with them, working on their story, I am happier. (Even if I know the words aren’t perfect.) It’s the best feeling in the world for a writer, and I never want it to stop.
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16 Comments

  1. Les

    My MC is pretty similar to me, but not. She is willing and able to do things that I would only dream of in the face of conflict… but her personality comes right from me hehe.
    .-= • Recent post by Les: Happy Friday! =-.

  2. Yeah, amen. There’s no feeling quite like moving your story forward, nailing a scene exactly how you planned to, and hitting a major milestone with your workcount (60k today!).

    I, too, have noticed that story-lag issue when I spend too long inside a character’s head rather than having them do something. It’s a tough balance.

    By the way, if you wrote Fantasy it’d be a little easier to divorce yourself from the characters. Not as easy as you might think, but easi-ER. ;)
    .-= • Recent post by Todd Newton: The Ninth Avatar "In Stock" on Amazon =-.

  3. I love this post! And the pics of your inner struggle.

    Action is most def the key. I feel like I had a similar break through today. I have been struggling with the writing and today I realized it’s because no one was doing anything! Duh! Throw in some conflict and I am back on track.

    Congrats on 25k words!
    .-= • Recent post by Rebecca @ Diary of a Virgin Novelist: Yet another struggle with the title of "Writer" =-.

  4. I love being in love with my story and my characters. I can remember when I was writing, and I’d catch myself with that feeling of “oh, I can’t wait to get back to that book I’m reading – it’s so interesting!” then I’d try to remember what book I was reading and realize that it was the book I was writing! Definitely fun.
    .-= • Recent post by Sonja: In which my feelings about the dentist speak volumes about my feelings about my life =-.

  5. Les-
    Interesting! Does that make it easier or harder for you?

    I’ve never had a character be just like me, personality-wise, but there is obviously some core similarities that I can identify with and thus explore in the story.

    Todd-
    Haha, are you pushing Fantasy on me! :P Actually the WIP is sort of fantas…tic. Ish. Like, when I query, I will probably have to call it fantasy, but I don’t think of it as such at all.

    Rebecca-
    You know, I’ve been reading Scott Westerfeld’s Uglies series, and I’m constantly amazed by how much conflict he throws at his protagonists. In addition to being an entertaining read, it reminds me to give more trouble to my characters!

    Sonja-
    I hope you get to feel that again soon! ;D

  6. Those are three great things! 25,000 is brilliant! I really agree that action helps. It’s so hard, when you really like your characters, to dangle them into danger…but, you so have to do it. That’s something I’ve figured out–I have to write what is necessary for the story (even when I stubbornly resist it).
    .-= • Recent post by Sarah: Sweet Disposition =-.

  7. Jon

    Congrats on the 25k words! Wow–that’s really an achievement. I know what you mean about trying to distance yourself from the main character, I struggle with that, too. Of course, there’s always a part of me in every character I write, it helps me identify with them.

    Probably more with Truly Desperate, that whole story is about me.
    .-= • Recent post by Jon: Moving to Illinois =-.

  8. In my house, #3 is called “Book Brain.” I would like to come up with a cleverer name, but I’m always thinking about my characters, plot and scene ideas. I have a secret — Since I do some of my best thinking in the shower, I always have a pencil at the ready and I will… GASP!!! Write on the shower walls. Shhhh… don’t tell my kids. Oh – that’s right, my daughter discovered my secret. LOL.

    Congrats on your word count and you are so right about adding action to a scene that is dragging. I too had April 1st as a goal to finish and am shooting for June… Sending happy writing thoughts your way.
    .-= • Recent post by TL Sumner: New Additions to My Library =-.

  9. Jon-
    “Of course, there’s always a part of me in every character I write, it helps me identify with them.”

    Oh for sure, me too!

    TL Sumner-
    “Book Brain,” haha, I love it! Good luck to both of us for hitting June!

  10. haha great post!!

    and i love the pictures :P

    congrats on everything, and best of luck with your writing!!
    .-= • Recent post by T. H. Mafi: BELLA CULLEN VS. BREE TANNER =-.

  11. Just found your blog and I have about a thousand questions! You write for the dieline? /swoon That’s amazing! And your amazon page looks like you’re really busy! =) I love finding people who are pursuing their passions full tilt.

  12. Kyla-
    Haha, yes, the Dieline is pretty swoon-worthy. In fact, I’m pretty sure I fainted when they asked me. But shh, don’t tell.

    You’re like a 20SB celebrity, haha, so I’m kind of near-faint right now too. Thanks for the kind words, and for stopping by!

  13. Congrats on finding what you love to do! My friends and I have talked about #2. If there is a protagonist who is the same age and gender, my friends often find they are really writing about themselves in fictional situations. It’s great you identified this issue & separated yourself from the characters. :D Keep up the great work!
    .-= • Recent post by mochagirl26: Almost Easter! =-.

  14. Congrats on achieving 25,000 – that’s amazing! Adorable pics, too :)
    .-= • Recent post by Emily Jane: Lean On Me =-.

  15. mochagirl26-
    Thanks. I spent the weekend trying to push the characters even farther away from myself, and I can already tell the story is going to get even better as a result!

    Now of course, that’s not to say writing about oneself is bad. It just doesn’t work for me with this particular story. :P

    Emily Jane-
    Thanks!

  16. So awesome that you feel happier after thinking about your characters! And I love the photos!

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