Monday, March 14, 2011

14 Hours

I sat on the computer for 14 straight hours Saturday. Yep, you heard me, 14 freakin' hours. 7:30am - 9:30pm. I was on a roll. The word count went from 80,0823Fri. night to 85,946 Sat. night. (And yes, I did take breaks to feed and water the Monster Child. She wasn't feeling all that swell so she mostly laid around upstairs in bed.)

I was almost finished. All. Most. Finished. Probably 3000 more words. Maybe 3, possibly 4 more scenes. But, I stopped. Well, yeah, I was like wicked tired, but still wired, you know. I re-set my clock and went to bed.

I took a break on Sunday. I cleaned the house. I did some laundry. I gave away three years worth of Monster Child's clothes to a man who lost his wife and well, you know how that goes. I raked some leaves, I picked up a bunch of downed limbs. My mother came over with the dog and we dissed my sister-in-law again. Never touched the computer. Didn't even look at it.

At 1am Monday morning, Monster Child woke me up out of sound sleep crying because she couldn't breathe. (Stuffy nose. Oh yes, spring has sprung. Thanks tree pollen.)
I gave her medicine, waited until she could breathe again and lay there in the dark until 5 freaking 30, thinking about my story.

Everything that I wrote on Saturday, isn't going to work. Yeah, it's pretty good if I do say so myself, really full of tension - angst - anxiety. Poor Ellis. Poor Violet. But I have to go even further back than that. I would say the last 20,000 words aren't going to work.

I've lost the original premise of the story somewhere along the way. I mean, it's sort of there, but Lady Olivia is really playing much too much a role. It's convoluted, murky, muddied up with too much pop and wow. I was trying to make every page, every scene zing. I was listening to what I've read, you need to have tension on every page. Yeah, you know what, no, you really don't.

This story is not an action/adventure/suspense/thriller, it's a love story. A basic simple love story. Yes, there's tension, angst, and anxiety, people get hurt, lies are told, hearts are broken. If you only knew what I put poor Ellis and Violet through. Sorry, I can't tell you that.

So, I probably won't be around for the rest of the week. I really want to finish this and I was sooooo close. God, that's frustrating. I've got to go back in and find where I took that first wrong turn.

Question -- Have you ever done this? I mean, found where you went wrong right before you finished? Revisions are one thing and totally a whole beast unto themselves - but have you ever gotten almost to the end and realized you screwed up?


Laura Pauling said...

Writing has to come first - if you have to take time away to do a bunch of rewrites - go for it. you'll be glad when it's all done! That's wonderful you were able to even see that your plot went in the wrong directions!

Jen Daiker said...

My very first novel has been 86,000 words I was proud, so proud I cried. It was quite the moment. Too bad the MC was 8 years to old and wasn't strong enough to be in the lead. It also would have to be changed entirely to first person rather than third.

It was rough to accept and for awhile I didn't. Until I saw Ally Carter at an author signing, she told us a few of her horror stories and it was then I was ready to deal with the beast. I'm still dealing with it, but it was my first and I wouldn't change it for the world. Talk about a learning experience.

Happy Monday!! Try not to sit for that many hours today, your butt will go numb and also cause you pain... so not good!

Jaydee Morgan said...

Good for you for realizing you have to make the changes now. And good luck with writing this week - wishing you luck :)

Linda G. said...

Oh, my yes. And it's painful. The agony of delete. *wry grin*

But you know what? All that writing was not wasted. It all helps you to get where you ultimately need to go with the book.

Hang in there. :)

Bish Denham said...

It's hard when you know the story has gotten muddled and you're so close to the end. But at least you found it, at least you didn't finish it, think it was great and then have people tell you it isn't working.

GAK! It's so hard being a writer. Good luck and HAVE FUN!

Christine Danek said...

It's good that you noticed it and, yeah, that stinks for all the time put in, but you wrote. It may not have worked, but you wrote a direction and it didn't work. I've done this and it does completely suck, and I'm still trying to get over it. Good luck. I know you will get there.

Anne Gallagher said...

Aww, thanks you guys. I know you've all been there at one point or another, in one capacity or another.

I'm not truly devastated, well, sort of, but, like Bish said, at least I found it now instead of finishing and have people tell me it's not working.

But oh, man. Truthfully, I don't even want to look at it for the rest of the week. I know what I need to do, and it's not all that daunting, just a big pain in the ass. You know?

And Linda, if you come back and read this, could you tell me how the hay-zoo to post a comment on your blog. I've tried like a 1000 times and it always says it's down. Is there some kind of secret code?

Theresa Milstein said...

Good for you for writing so much. I feel like no writing is wasted, even if you can't use it.

Have a good and productive week.

Bossy Betty said...

Ma'am! Please step away from the computer and put your hands around a comforting beverage. (I know, I know, you did take a day off.) Sometimes you have to go through a lot of writing just to figure out what it is you want to say.

Send Lady Olivia to the 7-11 for some ding dongs and coffee. Sounds like she wants to take over. The break will do her good.

Rula Sinara said...

Oh that sucks, but I do believe that writing is never wasted. Something came out of it, whether more insight into your story or the mere pride and joy in knowing you can pull 14 hours of writing!

Hope Monster Child feels better. I was up in the wee hours with my youngest for the same reasons.

E. Elle said...

Applause, applause, and more applause. I have found myself quite frequently NOT doing a lot of things I've been told to do and guess what? The stories are better for it. I've always managed to catch my screw ups almost immediately but I don't go back and fix them; I just keep going, working my way back to my track. Good luck, love. You'll get there.

The Las Vegas Writer said...

Wow! You are a trooper. I haven't had this experience, having to go back during the first draft, but that usually means I have more to fix during revisions.

Terry Towery said...

Unfortunately, that seems to be the case with most everything I write. So yeah, I know *exactly* what you mean. :)

Hang in there. You are an inspiration to people like me.

VR Barkowski said...

My heart goes out to you. I've lived this scenario three times just with my current WIP alone. Now, if you'll excuse me, I must go into a corner and weep.

Sarah Ahiers (Falen) said...

oh i completely agree with you about the whole tension. I mean, yes, there should probably 95% tension throughout the story, but sometimes you need that down time, that calm before the storm.

coffeelvnmom said...

Ugh. That's a long time to sit in one spot! I know how frustrating it is to stop and think, "Now wait a minute...where did everything go?" Make sure to take a break, and give yourself and get a breather before going back at it. Nothing works better at revisions (in my opinion) than shutting your brain off for a while and thinking about something else. Good luck! =)

The Happy Whisk said...

Are you at all open to taking a longer break away from the piece?

Anne Spollen said...


And yes, this has happened to me. I've sworn off writing due to this kind of frustration.

Taking a break usually helps. Just like those clothes you gave away -- declutter the story, ditch the pages that drag down the space. Your story will be stronger for it.

Anne Gallagher said...

You guys are the best! I worked on it today, while listening to Monster Child sing her heart out to The Little Mermaid. No, she did not go to school.

I went way back, not to the beginning but around Chapter 20 where things set-up for Act II. I fixed most of it. Got the story on a firmer track. I think, if my calculations are correct, it's only the last 50 pages that need to be reworked.

VR -- Please don't cry. You'll make me cry.

Sarah -- There's a lot of tension throughout, it's just that at the end, there's wayyyy tooo much.

Ivy -- It's not that I need a break, I just detoured from my original idea for the book. In writing, I got caught up in another thread and it just spiraled out of control. I just need to get back in and put the original idea back in place. I'm waiting to take a really long break over the summer.

Jamie Burch said...

Oh no! I have to say that's amazing that you put all that time in. Such discipline! Sorry to hear you have to scrap it though.

But, to recognize and admit that you have to let that writing go is very admirable.

I agree with you about conflict. Too much is exhausting and unrealistic.

Good luck with finishing! I hope you have more days where you're in the writing zone.

Take care...:)

Elle Strauss said...

I don't know if I recognized it at the moment, but definitely some time later--ugh, I know it's hard to go back and start cutting your word count, but it pays off in the end.

Elaine AM Smith said...

Poor Ellis and Violet - I'm glad they are going to be given a reprieve from too much angst. Hope MB is over the worst of the rising pollen soon :)

Hannah Kincade said...

Oh I totally finished on a different not than intended. And I knew I was going to before I did it but I thought, I aint rewriting everything yet. I will finish first. I think it happens, we let our muse run amuck and we just roll with it. If all else fails, you wrote 20k. Aint no shame or blame in that number, just pure awesome.

jbchicoine said...

Wow, that's a lot of time invested! I'm sure there is still much of what you wrote that can be salvaged--at any rate, it was a good writing exercise, and there is nothing like the free flow of words! Good for the serotonin levels! :)

Liza said...

Oh gosh I'm not experienced enough to have gone through this, but you made me wince. I hope that what you wrote can be used somehow...and I give you a lot of credit for realizing you need to back up and go at it again.

Tara said...

Yikes, that's a big hit! I've had to backtrack before, but only maybe 3-4k words.

Try a teaspoon of local honey every morning. Does wonders for the allergies.