Monday, November 16, 2009

Failing and Flailing

I've been feeling a little burnt out with nearly half a month of writing 2,000+ words every day, working on Madison, working on work, working out, working around the get the picture. Friday I had a light workload, and I was feeling pretty refreshed, but when I sat down for my writing session on Saturday, it dragged, so I stuck with my plan of taking Sunday off.

What a disaster! I had the goal of a relaxing day of fun, with zero time on the computer. Theoretically, that should be easy. Except, the night before, once the decision was already made, I realized that my character's electricity-killing ability wasn't really important to the story. Remove it, and I'm writing an ordinary romance (not my genre). Keep it in, and the story needs to change. Saturday night, this seemed very doable.

I woke up Sunday with the Sasha story in my head, and not in a good way. I wasn't even out of bed before I was wondering how I was supposed to rework the story. I was depressed after twenty minutes of staring at the ceiling.

We got out of the house for a while, and that helped, but the moment we returned home, so did all my fears and doubts. I pushed them aside and laid down on the bed in the sun. This was a day for relaxation. And while I was relaxed, I had a few great ideas for a scene coming up, and I thought I'd run with it. Cody was napping, I had the time; why not storyboard the rest of the novel. The ideas seemed like they were starting to shift and move.

So I jotted notes and paced and put up new note cards and took down old ones and got out my trusty The Writer's Journey—

And realized I'd done it again: I'd written a two-act story.

I paced more. I talked out loud. I had a cookie. I had another cookie. I jotted more notes. I jotted random words for inspiration. I tried creativity-inducing exercises. I woke Cody up. And then the real pity party started. Oh, it was awful. I'll spare you the details (and save myself a little pride) and simply say that at one point I was questioning my career choice, my ability to be a writer, and how terrible a person I was.

We left the house. It was the only solution short of blacking out. All the ugly thoughts in my head wouldn't stop. We went for a walk. When we returned, we watched Bolt. And finally, finally, after so much frustration and self-pity (and did I mention frustration?) a new idea came to me, a way to rework the ending and get my third act.

The idea is far from fleshed out (it's a whopping two cards of my storyboard), but the third act is there. I wasn't even terribly excited. I was just tired.

I still can't decide if the day off was good. Emotionally, it sucked. But it made me realize the flaws in my story and see the lack of the third act before I finished and even before I got there. And I've already decided how to cut out 5 scenes from the beginning to get the book moving faster. Plus, I've got a better grasp of the genre (paranormal action with elements of romance—yes, that needs work and focus). I've also pinpointed a direction. Possibly I consolidated a month or more worth of editing frustration into one day. But, holy cow, that day was not one I'd want to relive!

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