Monday, October 5, 2015

And Then It All Fell Apart

So, two weeks ago, I was well on my way to completing my latest WiP. I had the ending outline, knew where it was going, how I was going to get there and then BOOM. It blew up in my face. I had to go back to Chapter 2 to find a conversation thread and as I read it, I realized the plot wasn't going to work.

Talk about a bummer. I took a few days and mulled it over, rethinking the whole thing, hoping maybe I could MAKE it work the way the story was written. Nope. Well, yeah, it could, but it wouldn't be believable. Okay, that's not true, it would have been believable, but only to a certain few. And I don't need bad reviews.

I discussed the problem with two friends who aren't writers and although they agreed that I could probably finish the story the way I wanted, readers would have had to REALLY get behind the premise of love at first sight. And as I thought about it, the main character, Cathryn, wasn't really believing it either. Lots of great internal dialogue, but I think if you have to QUESTION if you love someone, then you probably don't.

Of course it's been a long time since I've been in love and in writing this book, I've had to really dredge up memories that probably should have been left locked up where they were. Obviously, I haven't been lucky at it, and if I had been, I'd probably still be in it. Right?

So now what? Well, for the most part, I'm just too busy to care. Real life has once again taken a nasty turn and I'm knee deep in school crap again. Also, when I write, I like to block out days to get it done. Say Tues Wed Thurs for 6-8 hours per day (not necessarily in that big of a chunk, but split the day into shifts). However, I haven't been able to block off any days in a row.

When do I think the book will be finished? I've now given myself until the end of October. Why? Because I have no choice.

Am I working on something else? Well, yes. I can't not write. I've gone back into the new Regency I started last March. And I've dabbled a little bit with the mystery detective stories again.

Am I freaking out? Yeah, kind of, a little bit. But hey, the way I figure it, it'll get done when it gets done. And hopefully, still in time for Christmas.

So tell me -- What do you do when you're almost at the end and you realize it's not going to work? Do you leave it alone? Or continue to work on it? Or do you make yourself sick on chocolate and pistachio ice cream?


Author R. Mac Wheeler said...

You can ALWAYS make it work...may just take more editing than you expected. But that's what the creative process is.

(Oh my, I'm so wise)

Bish Denham said...

I would probably make myself sick on chocolate and pistachio ice cream, be in the hospital for a few days and while there have an epiphany, come back home and write something else completely new and different!

Try not to beat yourself up too much or get too freak out. If you figure out what to do great. If not, move on to something else.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I finish the book and then I fix it. It might mean entire chapter rewrites, major scene additions, but I finish it. First drafts usually needs tons of work for me.

Anne Gallagher said...

Mac -- Yeah, I could make it work, but I don't want to force the story. Then it sounds stupid and forced. I'd rather just let it sit until I'm ready to get back at it.

Bish -- I've been trying to work on the new and different, but that only leads to guilt to finish this latest one up. I'm giving it more time to sit than I usually do because I actually don't have the time. Hopefully, once I do get back to it, the problems will be staring me in the face and I'll only have to tweak instead of completely rewrite.

Susan -- I edit and revise as I go, so full chapter rewrites are a curse for me. Also not having the time to get back to it the way I want to is actually more frustrating than having to do the actual work. It'll get done eventually.

Stacy McKitrick said...

I kind of had that problem with my last novel. Couldn't figure out how to end that sucker because I screwed up somewhere. I found re-drafting it worked wonders. I printed out the book and then I just started re-writing it, copying from that first draft (not copy and paste, but actually re-typing it on a new word document). I picked up instantly what went wrong and fixed it. I did try to keep most of what I had written (because I had written A LOT that was good), but it sure was easier to fix that way. Managed to finish the book shortly thereafter. Whew!

Shelley Sly said...

I can relate. I've written an entire manuscript where the whole plot fell apart at one point. My solution was to do a complete rewrite, not just revise it, but start over and have more of a solid plan for the plot. It turned out much better. Good luck with your MS!

Liza said...

Well, really, I go for Ben and Jerry's Chocolate Fudge Brownie, and then a give myself thinking time. With any luck in the middle of the night or the middle of a shower, a fix occurs to me...

dolorah said...

I sat down to write a 6000 word short story. And, nothing worked out. I'm on draft 4 and still filling in plot holes. Thinking, maybe I should just bow out and start something else.

Sometimes, writing life is like that.

Maria Zannini said...

This happened to me with the first book I wrote (not the first published).

I knew the heart of the story was in there, but it wasn't working the way I wanted it to. After agonizing over it, I knew what I had to do. I restarted the novel, kept the same characters, but changed the inciting moment, which in turn changed everything else. The only thing that stayed the same was the first love scene.

In hindsight it was the best decision. Deep down I knew what had to be done. Probably, deep down you do too.

Carol Kilgore said...

Been there. If I don't know what I'm going to do at the beginning, I keep on and write the ending as planned because depending on what I do at the beginning, I may be able to salvage at least part of the ending, even if it's a slightly different form. If I do know what I'm going to do at the beginning, then I don't write it unless the new beginning means the ending will absolutely work. Then of course, I write it. I've found when you tinker with something at the beginning - even something that seems relatively minor - it has a way of impacting character and attitudes throughout the entire book. It touches every page, and especially impacts the ending. At least that's been my experience.

Anne Gallagher said...

Thanks all. I really appreciate your comments.

I've given this a lot of thought over the last couple of days because I read a blog post recently that in a nutshell said, "Write the story you want to read." I know we've all heard this countless times before, but somehow I lost sight of that. I've been trying to write to the market (as this is kind of a high concept story) but that's when I started having trouble with it.

Today I sat down and reread everything I'd written thus far, and you know what, it's a damn good story just the way it is. Yes, people do fall in love at first sight. And Yes, they do wonder if they're crazy. I've done it myself, though not to the extent my MC has.

So, I'm keeping it the way it is. I can't agonize over every decision wondering if I'm wrong. If I did, the story would never get finished. I have to be true to myself and the characters. If they don't like the way it's going, I'm sure they'll tell me. Besides, they already know it's going to have a happy ending.

Thanks. You guys rock!

J.B. Chicoine said...

I'm so glad you haven't thrown in the towel! :)