Monday, March 17, 2014

Abstract Thoughts: Muddling Through the Middle

Wisdom of an Inner Editor
I am not looking forward to revisions on the section of Guardian Renee is writing these days.

Every novelist has that one part of the writing process that they hate, that one point where all the joy is leeched out of the process and every word becomes a fight. Some authors struggle with building momentum in their openings, others have a hard time getting all the various plot threads to smooth out and braid themselves into the conclusion. But Renee hits her slog in the middle.

It would be nice if she enjoyed the middle as much as she does the shiny new beginning and the adrenaline-laced race to the end. I would certainly prefer that she got caught up in the slow march uphill to the climax, and really loved introducing subplots and side characters, building the tension, and planting the seeds for things to come.

I'm not being altruistic here, just practical. Writers write better when they're having a good time, and better writing in the zero draft stage makes my job easier when it comes time for revisions.

Alas, if wishes were horses. . .  well, if wishes were horses, I suspect Inner Editors would get stuck mucking out the stables, so maybe we should stop using that particular clich√©.

The point is, Renee is going through a rough patch right now. I'm getting a migraine just thinking about how much work I'm going to have to put in straightening this mess out once everything is all said and done. As the Muse discussed last week, the characters are disagreeing with the outline and we're having to do a bit of restructuring just to keep things moving forward.

And moving forward is costing a lot of effort.

I don't know how many words we wrote last week. We logged the information every day, but we've stopped letting Renee look at the goal tracking spreadsheet. We all know the words are coming brutally slowly at the moment and Renee's motivation is already thin enough.

This isn't the time to look at the big picture. Every single step forward hurts just now, so it's probably best just to put our heads down and focus on the patch of ground at her feet. And periodically remind Renee that this happens every time and it always gets better eventually.

We will get through this.

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