Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Work In Progress - Will I Ever Finish?

I feel like EH is dragging on and on and on...and ON. I feel like I should be done with it already. I'm making slow and steady progress on it, but it's, well, slow. I think one of my problems is I'm not sure how to resolve it. Once the main battle is won, the bad guy (girl, in this case) is defeated, then what? I can't just say, "We moved to Aruba and Adam fed me coconut milk and shellfish everyday." can I? Somehow, I don't think so. *snarfage*

Because of this not-knowing-how-to-resolve issue, I feel like the progress I'm making is leading me toward the gallows. To my ultimate demise. Not only will I not be able to keep up in the Writing Throwdown (can't write if I don't know WHAT to write), but the book will still be unfinished!

Meanwhile, I've got this other story idea brewing in my head, and it actually wants to be written. So do I abandon EH yet again? How many times can you leave a story and it will be waiting patiently for you when you get back? Are they like lovers? Is once already one time too many? What about three times?

If only I could figure out where to go, then I could get there. Since I don't know, I feel like I'm writing more and more, bloating the darn thing to an unmanageable size, just to avoid writing the ending. Avoidance. That's what I'm doing. And my manuscript is paying the price.

So how do I snap out of this? *whines* Help! I've got resolution issues, abandonment, bloating and the very real danger of being thrown down into the seventh rung of writing hell and never climbing back out.

Someone throw me a ladder! Or at least some Oreos.


Lisa and Laura said...

Well, at least you keep writing when you don't know where it's going. We were struggling with how to wrap up the revised version of the book and I literally just went into procrastination mode. It was terrible. But then when we finally sat down and really figured it all out it was easy to start writing again.

I vote for you to work on the story that wants to be written. I bet this one will wait patiently until you figure out where it's all going.

Eric said...

As you know, I recently had to start on a new draft, write and outline, and figure out just the things you're going through. Maybe you need to write an outline (or a new one if you already have one). Maybe you need to just write something new, a short rambling aimed at making your mind imagine things. Whatever you do, don't quit writing. Someone told me (during all of this) that I should just keep writing on my WIP regardless of my lack of direction. I understand the idea that we should never stop writing, but I disagree that we should try and force a story to happen. If its not happening right now, let your creative juices work on something else for a moment. Don't abandon it totally, but let it play around in your head for a bit while you write other things. You may be surprised that the story finds a way to write itself, and you'll be just the tool to get it on paper. I'm no expert, this is completely uninformed opinion, but there ya go.

Michelle McLean said...

Don't you dare ditch poor EH again!! Just write something...even if you know it is total suckage and will never make it into the book - just write it. Write the perfect fairy tale ending...go ahead, put them on the beach in Aruba. And then, once you've got some material to work with, edit the crap out of it. Rewrite it. Revise it. But I have found many, many times that if I am stuck, if I can get SOMETHING down, then that helps spark an idea that will actually work.

What kind of ending do you want for them, in the simplest terms? Do you want them to live happily ever after? Write that last page, what you want them to say to each other, where you want them to be. And then fill in the rest on how they got there.

But don't you dare shelve the poor thing again! you are so close!!!

WindyA said...

That's the great thing about the whole writing thing. You have sooo many options. Though you don't want to, you could take a short break, maybe a couple days, work on something else then go back. Or you could just keep at it. Have you tried the writing with you eyes closed method? I know it sounds weird and my husband calls me at total dork when I have to resort to this, but I stick in some headphones, turn up some jams, close my eyes and just start typing. Focus on the music instead of the writing for a little bit and even if all you end up writing is snippets of lyrics from the song, you'd be surprised what else comes pouring out. Helps me. Maybe could help you too?

Annie Louden said...

You make me laugh and laugh! I mean, not your troubles, just how you describe them.

Um, I gave up on the Throwdown about a week ago... *crickets chirping*

I have abandoned some projects for a year or two, then picked them up again. But, I also don't have anything really finished. I guess maybe what you could do is spend at least 15 minutes each day on EH, so that it stays in your mind, but write your new story on the side. Did you know that Audrey Niffenegger wrote Time Traveler's Wife as a diversion from her main project? Holy cow.

But, a fifteen minute time period should help with the bloat. I don't really like to keep writing stuff I know I'm going to trash, either. Unless it's November.

Another thing you could try is to look up some writing prompts and see if they get your novel going in a new direction.

Don't give up! (like I have). I mean, I'm going to write *something* tonight. Before I do my WIP post. So that I have something to post about.

The Screaming Guppy said...

/throws some cookies and cheesecake!

PurpleClover said...

I always think series. It needs to end with some other possible direction. Can you think of a way to bring a new arising problem but still have closure??

Maybe after the battle is won a mysterious character that was only mentioned a few times in the beginning can come back into the picture. This is SciFi? Or Fantasy? I'd try to give you an idea if I knew more about it. I'm an idea kinda gal. ;) (I'm not saying they're good ideas...just ideas) lol

Umm...maybe someone they thought they killed and left for dead mysteriously pops up again? or they receive intel that there is an uprising and someone is summoning the MC?

Or the MC could become pregnant and speak about the great battle and how now she has a memory growing in her womb that she can feel means "great power". But hint that she would never meet him (because someone had other plans for the infant).

I'm just thinking if you give your audience closure but then make them salivate for can work it into a possible series.

That probably didn't help at all. Just made it that much more difficult huh? lol.

Kate Karyus Quinn said...

Why not put the characters on a beach in Aruba? That is the way John Grisham has ended half of his novels, and it's worked out okay for him.

No, seriously, maybe you could try and make a list of potential endings. Make some of them totally ridiculous - like they turn into singing Chipmunks, or something. Just put no restrictions on yourself and maybe something great will slip out.

Or if the gears are really stuck, work on the thing you really want to work on, perhaps it's a "watched kettle never boils" type thing, and as soon as you are not focusing on it - the answer will come.

ElanaJ said...

Wow, you guys are full of great advice! I have never tried writing with my eyes closed. Nor have I given myself permission to let them go to Aruba or be singing chipmunks. But I think I need to.

Annie, you better get back on the throw down wagon, girl! *laser eyes*

I think series too, and I need to explore that more. Good idea Purple Clover!

Thanks for the cookies and cheesecake. Now I'm going to be bloated instead of my MS. :)

Windsong said...

Sometimes it helps to step away from the story for a day or two. I usually have a beta story I can work on if the alpha's giving me problems. This way I'm still being productive and writing. It's amazing what a few days break can do to your perspective of the story.

Sandra said...

I was going to suggest working on the project that wants to be worked on, at least for a while.

What kind of side plots do you have brewing in EH? Can you ramp one up or twine it with the main plot?

What do your characters want besides to win the main battle and defeat the villianess? Maybe you need to sit down with them and have a chat. They can help you eat the cookies and cheesecake. :grin:

Horserider said...

*throws Oreos* When I have trouble with not knowing what to do, I take a break. Usually the idea hits me like a frying pan to the head in the most inconvenient and unexpected moment. Then I have to run to the nearest notebook or laptop and write it down as fast as I can before it slips away again.

ElanaJ said...

Oh my heck! I may have had a breakthrough in the car on the way home today. Would be okay if the ending is UNhappy? Do the guy and girl have to get together? What if there's just something in the way that one of them can't get past? Hmm...I think I may have figured it out.

Anonymous said...

Unhappy ending is SO THE WAY TO GO with this story!!! SRSLY. YEAH for a breakthrough! (and FYI...had a major one myself!!!)

and here are some oreos, Dove Dark and anything else you need...

beth said...

Elana: TOTALLY go with UNhappy!!!

Also, if it helps: when I get stuck, I try to work backwards: what do I want to happen, THEN what will it take to make the characters make that happen?

Michelle McLean said...

It only has to be a happy ending if it's a romance - so I think you are good :D And congrats on the breakthrough!!

Anonymous said...

Oh dear I feel your pain! Once my characters did the final battle I was like what to do now? I wanted a happy ending but making a second book I have to leave some suspense. I know I skipped ahead a few years and just mainly say how they were happy with family, kids and friends and everything was good.

Maybe you can do a fast forward to where you see your characters n a few years after their crazy battle. I love happy endings myself!

Plus I have a sci-fi I work on the side but due to my previous novel being re-written I havent had time to write in it! I know the agony of something begging you to write maybe do a chapter or scene and maybe something will click for your current script! Good luck!

Don't worry when your book is ready to end it will show you the way!

disorderly said...

You go, girl! Write that unhappy ending. If you decided you don't like it, you can change it later.

If you'd like, I can send Dying Guy and the hoodlums over to put a good scare into your characters. Or maybe your characters, who seem to be good at getting themselves out of pickles, can help Dying Guy and the gang figure out what they're supposed to be doing in my "stuck" chapter. :-)

Stina Lindenblatt said...

I'd say go for the one that wants to be written. There's a reason for that.

I had to make the same decision and I'm glad I did. The book I abandoned is now being rewritten as an YA urban fantasy instead of YA high fantasy (big changes in the plot of course), while the other project is gaining requests from agents.

Good luck on the decision!

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