Friday, October 12, 2007

Take this Manuscript and Shove It

MENTAL STATUS: "Frustrated". I'm sick of this story I'm writing, I'm sick of the characters, and I'm sick of chapter 6.

Ugh! I've been struggling with this stupid story I've been trying to write ALL summer. I'm about halfway through and... I hate to admit it, but... well, I'm stuck.

Whew! I feel a little better. (Just a little)

I've heard of writers getting "stuck in the middle" or struggling with "the sagging middle" of their books--but, honestly, I could never truly relate to their problem. Until now. I apologize for my halfhearted sympathy in the past. Believe me, I'm really paying for it now.

I know it has something to do with the motivation and conflict for my hero. I think the proper writer's terminology for that is "my hero's lame".

But I could be wrong.

I'm so ready to toss in the towel. Maybe step back and start something new. But I'm afraid to. I'm afraid I'll never go back to that story. So, in the meantime, I'm doing NOTHING, which isn't good either.

I need to think and try to work on this some more this morning... if I my brain doesn't explode first.

Have you ever stepped away from what you're writing to start something new?


Chicki said...

I'm feeling you, girl. That happene to me when I was writing "Between Sisters." The middle was sagging so badly Viagra wouldn't have solved the problem!

I forced myself to finish the first draft but haven't yet gone back to start the second draft. One of these days...

Maybe you should step away from it for a few weeks. The solution might suddenly come to you.

Stephanie said...

I always read that when you have a sagging middle or get stuck something went wrong somewhere. Usually I can pinpoint the exact place things turned the way I didn't want them to. My solution? I go back, open a new file and copy and paste everything I've written after that place where it took a wrong turn, forget about how things went in that file and try to go a different direction. If that doesn't work I do actually start something new so I can take a step back. Usually when I go back to read it in six months or so I'm motivated to start again!

lainey bancroft said...

I frequently step away and start something new.
Not saying that's a solution, but it does seem to work for me. MOST of the time, I start missing the characters and the pieces fall into place. Once or twice I've left something all together, which is maybe a good indication that it belongs under the bed for eternity. :)

Hey, Jennifer, we'll be 'breaking a sweat' together, so watch out...I'll be watching you! (of course, I'll expect the same)

Theresa said...

Every single manuscript I've written I've hit the sagging middles. Me, I push my way though and try to write on. But if that doesn't work, I put it aside and start something new. I always have at least two story half written at one time. And I always finish them.
Set it aside for a few weeks. Read or start on a new book.

Kristen Painter said...

I don't think I've ever given up on something. I agree with the idea that you went wrong somewhere. Take a step back and look at the big picture. What could you have done differently? Where would that path have taken you? Explore the possibilities.

Patricia W. said...

I went through this on my current wip. I had a "lame" hero too. I found it helped to take a day or so away. Sometimes the answer would come to me.

Another approach was to spend a bit more time either going over my plot outline or my character development, particularly the latter. When I did so, the answer usually revealed itself.

Babe King said...

This is why God made chocolate. :-)

MaryF said...

I stopped a story in the middle, wrote TWO OTHER books, then went back to it. It wasn't any easier, sorry to say! Good luck!

Angela Jefferson said...

That's what happened to my story, CHBLY,and I put it aside and began thinking about the beginning from another angle in order to firm up the middle. Now that I'm reading through the chapters I'd written before I realize that what I had wasn't so bad. It helps to take a break and look at what you have with fresh eyes.