Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Let's get to the point.

Here's my Tuesday truth, a day late and a few dollars short: I'm halfway into my rough draft, and I haven't made any progress.

Okay, so that's not exactly true. I did revamp my plot, fine-tune my conflict, kill off a few darlings (sorry, my dears!), come up with a pretty wicked outline (thanks to the ladies over at Plot This and an amazingly helpful plotting device), and draft a preliminary query and synopsis (jumping the gun, I know, but it helps me focus).

But now that I've done all of the above, I realize the first third of my book is backstory. Which is precisely why I'm stuck, why I've been staring at a Word document for the past 2 weeks without making any progress.

I love my characters. I love their story. But no one else will if I can't shut the hell up and say what I mean, already.

So I'm starting from scratch. Except, I like to think of it as cooking brownies from a box: I have all the dry ingredients. Now I just have to thicken them up, blend them together, and make them sweat.

Or something like that.

What about you?

12 comments:

Abby Annis said...

I know how you feel. Usually, if I'm stuck it's because something I've already written isn't quite right and I can't move forward until I fix it. Good luck!

Aubrie said...

A lot of times I have to scratch the whole first few chapters because it's all backstory. It hurts to do it, but then my manuscript really takes off. I think you're going in the right direction!

Tere Kirkland said...

Knowing is half the battle, right?

Wish I had some better advice, but I don't. Does it at least make you feel better that we've been there, too? ;)

Good luck!

Lisa and Laura said...

You are so brave! And thank goodness you realized it now! Just think of that first draft as a really long characterization exercise...

Little Ms J said...

When I feel like a chapter/section/whatever isn't working I open a new doc and write another version. I have about sixteen versions of two or three different chapters. It makes all the difference in the world to me and it doesn't seem as daunting as using the words "starting over."

Just an idea.

Hardygirl said...

Hey--thanks for the link!!!

Those plotting exercises helped me out so much--good luck. Love the analogy of cooking from scratch vs cooking from a box. Having the ingredients is a HUGE part of the battle!!

sf

Hardygirl said...

Hey--thanks for the link!!!

Those plotting exercises helped me out so much--good luck. Love the analogy of cooking from scratch vs cooking from a box. Having the ingredients is a HUGE part of the battle!!

sf

Hardygirl said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
eeyoredragon said...

Hmmm... knowing your brownies involve sweat is making me think about all the times I've had brownies with you two...

You could go the Dune path, and add a glossary and appendices ;) Another thing he'd do is add a character (main or historical) quote/s at the beginning of each chapter that would leak backstory information.

jessjordan said...

Ha--my brownies don't actually sweat. At least I don't think they do ... I was more or less thinking about how I'd personally feel if someone shoved me in an oven. So I think you're safe eating our brownies. (At least the ones I make. I can't vouch for Rusty.)

As for Dune: The character quote is an interesting idea, but I'm pretty sure I'd lose all the teens with the glossary/appendices. If not, I'd bore myself to tears writing them.

:)

Daisy Whitney said...

If it's any consolation I've had to start from scratch on many stories and in fact did so a month ago on a novel I started back in May and am now reworking!

hearwritenow said...

I don't think you're jumping the gun writing a synopsis now; I find it a very valuable planning and rewriting tool.

Thanks for your comment on my Blood-Red Pencil post.

Elsa Neal
HearWriteNow
Blood-Red Pencil