And here I thought I was getting somewhere…
Here I thought I’d made it through the Dunes without delay…
Turns out, a rough draft the likes of which I’m trying to create is still very much a process of development and outlining.
It felt like a trench.
It looked like a trench.
If I closed my eyes and took a big whiff it even smelled like a trench.
Alas, twas merely a dip between the Dunes; an ebb and flow of the development topography, if you will.
And I, still very much an amateur (albeit an amateur with ambitions spanning the depths of space), leapt forward with naive enthusiasm hoping that I was progressing as swift as I imagined I might (oh, such confidence!) and instead, found myself struggling to piece my rough draft together from the outline I had greatly perspired over.
That’s when Norman saw his opening.
“If you’re outline is so good, why aren’t you writing the rough draft with ease?”
“Is the story even worth it?! It’s been four days since you’ve written a chapter…maybe that’s because the story suuuuucks. Admit it. It suuuuucks. Go on. Say it. Ok, we’ll say it together. One, two, three. IT SUUUUUCKS!”
“You know, your day job is just a click away. Maybe we set this writing thing aside since you clearly aren’t motivated to push through when the going gets tough and confusing. I mean, look at you! When’s the last time you touched the WIP? I can answer that! It’s been five days now. Five! Actions speak louder than words, sweetie.”
Then, it hit me:
My Norman’s onto something!
Not with his gut-shot honesty.
Not with his quitter’s attitude.
But with his acknowledgement of my problem!
The going had gotten tough and I was confused as to how to fix it, so I took a step back and spent several days pondering my WIP and, after Norman’s incessant (yet annoyingly helpful) bitching, I finally realized what the problem was: I have serious story arc questions that need serious answers.
And until those questions got answers, I didn’t feel good about anything I was writing for my rough draft.
Everything felt flat. As if my characters were acting out because I demanded it, rather than from their own motives.
So I took a day to ask myself all of the storyline questions I didn’t have answers to.
Why does x character feel driven to do x action?
Why does x organization strive to create x advancement?
If x character is so powerful, why is x character not able to dominate the whole world and do whatever said character wants?
If massive story arc questions are left unanswered in the outline, they’ll come back to haunt you in the Trenches, forcing you to take a look around and realize…you’re not out of the Dunes yet.
For some reason, I’m determined to turn myself into a panster.
I don’t know why! It’s not like I’m fond of slapdash work that requires a world of edits (which is what happens every time I try to pants my WIP 😉 ). But for whatever reason, I have the tenacious habit to convince myself to push forward and just write it out.
My advice after getting my wits about me?
Don’t force yourself to write through the stuck bits just because that’s everyone’s advice. Instead, try listening to your instincts as to why you aren’t writing when you know you should.
Perhaps your storyline does suck.
Or perhaps, you just need to turn your rough draft into a Dunes exploration of development rather than a Trenches feat of writing 🙂
So here I am, still slipping through the Dunes as curiously as a snake moves through sand; not exactly sure where I’m going, but persistent nonetheless with my path.
The point of this website is for me to:
1) explore my interest in fiction writing and share that experience with whomever finds an interest, and,
2) determine the best way to traverse Noveldom so that the writer’s that come after me feel more confident to pursue their own WIP’s.
Thus, I’ve come to the weary, humbling conclusion that this experience with my second novel is gonna be what it’s gonna be.
I’m going to feel confident and belittled all in the same week.
I’m going to gain and lose traction in the most unexpected ways.
I’m going to arrogantly share my experience like I know what I’m doing, just to get a bitch slap of reality that I most certainly know only yay-much.
And through it all, I’m going to inevitably learn each pitfall on this bizarre, isolating, fictional coffee-stain island or my favorite Spongebob Squarepants characters aren’t Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy (I will and they are) and pizza isn’t everyone’s saving grace (it is, shut your face)!
Do you ever look up from your WIP to see that you’re nowhere near where you thought you’d be? Or is that just a trait of the mega-hopeful?
I’m happy to make an ass out of myself to help the greater good in the Noveldom community, but I must say…it’d be nice to know that another ambitious soul out there jades themself into seeing WIP forward motion that isn’t quite there yet 🙂