The reasons for this blog: 1. To provide basic author information for students, teachers, librarians, etc. (Please see sidebar) 2. I think out loud a lot as I work through writing projects, and I'm trying to dump most of those thoughts here rather than on my friends.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Okay, the bottom line is that the rest of the ms is in good enough shape that I have to start trying to figure out the holes that are left.* Namely, the connecting part in the middle, and the end.

(cue drastic doom-laden organ music)

Except I dunno what to do with them. It's another one of those cases where X, Y, and Z have to happen. Another one of those cases where I'm totally clueless about how to approach it. If I push too hard, I'll screw it up. If I get too wholeheartedly into that screwup before I realize it's wrong, I'll be even more clueless than I am now.

This happens to me over and over again. I've got to move through certain plot points, but they won't work unless they mean something in the overall arc of the story. I've got to learn how to conquer this beast, because lately it rears its head every effing time I write a book.

I think I'll make (another) list of the missing parts, just to put them all in my head again. When I try to go through the ms, I get overwhelmed by them because I look at one and think, "Wait, this can't happen till I establish that other part." Then I move to thinking about how to establish the other part, which I usually don't care about anyway, and by now I'm confused about what I was trying to accomplish, so I quit and go work on something unrelated.

Maybe the best thing would be to force myself to stick to character: what does this particular event mean to the MC? Then later worry about how it moves the story and what the reader needs to get from it. Except...they're all tied together. The parts, I mean. The way I tie the end together needs to answer the way I tie the missing events in the middle. In real life they'd be just random events, like one day you dent a fender in the parking lot and the next you find a dollar bill you'd forgotten about in your pocket. In the story they aren't random at all. They have to echo each other and make sense together. And the middle decides which scenes I'm going to keep in the end part, and which I'm going to chunk.

Okay, no. Stop. Clear head. Go back. I can make the list, then from that list I need to think in two directions at once: 1) what does each event mean to the MC, and 2) how does it relate to what I want the book to say?

It's really hard for me to think of two things at once, so I'm going to have to write this down and treat it as totally removed from the ms, like an outline. I don't know that it'll solve anything, but I've got to start digging in somehow. If I can't figure it out, then at least the back of my brain will have everything clearly set down and graspable, so it can start chewing on the problem if it wants to.

Whoa, momentary reality check. Incoming e-mail reminds me that various writer friends are going off this weekend for fun cool author stuff, while I'm sitting here scrubbling uselessly away at the same piece-of-cr*p ms I've been wasting my time on for so many years I'm not going to count them--a ms that's never going to sell so I'll never go anywhere cool or fun because I'm the only one who can't write and I'll be humiliated because I'll never publish another book because my writing sucks and my books suck and I suck and when anybody finally looks at this ms the jig will be up because they'll all see what a sucky piece of cr*p I wasted all that time on, and isn't it sad, really, that any writer could be that deluded.

Okay, reality check over. Back to work.

*I have to. I'm starting to overwrite some of the parts that are closer to being done. I've got to leave those and figure out the holes.

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