Wednesday, May 6, 2009

WiP Wednesday - Do I Have to Start All Over Again?

So I finished typing my middle grade novel, LIVING ASSISTANTS. Nice play on words, right? Funny thing is, no one seems as impressed by it as I do. Could be that I'm a word geek, I don't know. But I think it's kind of kewl.

Anyway, finished typing that. It's 33,023 words. Not bad for a middle grade novel. Now I need to really stew on it, because there's a couple of parts that I'm not liking. They don't quite mesh from beginning to end. So I'm going to have to break out the ole zamboni and smooth those parts out. As soon as I save up enough money to invest in said zamboni. *snarf*

Meanwhile, I've figured out why I've been having all this angst over starting something new. I don't like it. Let me say it again: I don't like starting something new. The characters don't know me. I don't know them. I don't really like them yet. I'm a list person and if I could put "write a book" on my list and check it off after one day, I totally would. I can't. And that annoys me. A lot.

So I've been stalling the starting process. It's not fun. I like writing from the middle to the end. I'm more solid there, more set in the world, the characters, the excitement of what's to come. Starting? Not so much.

But I took last weekend off. I read. Watched movies. Listened to the freaking rain outside. Rejuvenated myself to start on Monday morning with my 500-words-a-day challenge. No matter what. Even if it was a scene at the end or middle or whatever. Even if it wasn't something in the same novel.

And you know what? After you write 500 words for a few days or weeks or whatever, you're no longer at the beginning! Woot!
So that's where I am. 1500 words in, but realizing that I won't always be at the beginning. And for now, that's the only thing motivating me to keep going. What about you? What are you working on? Where are you? Having a good time? Need encouragement? (I've got a forum for that....)

As always, anyone, anywhere is welcome to jump on the WiP Wednesday bandwagon. We slow down for anyone who looks like they haven't slept, are muttering to themselves about stupid Bad boys who won't cooperate and/or whose fingers are numb from typing. Believe me, it's a look I can recognize from miles away. Probably light years.

Also, here's the thought-provoking question of the day: Do you like starting something new? Excited to get the story down? Or do you dread it like I do because you're not quite sure who the people are yet or what's going to happen? Remember I don't outline. I've tried. I really have. It's just not my schtick. Maybe that's why I don't like starting something new.... Nah, there's no one "reason." I just don't like it. But I clean my toilets and I don't like that either. I will persevere! (And wow. Who knew I could go from writing to bandwagons to toilets all in one post? I have mad skillz. I feel like I need a medal or something. tee hee.)


M. Dunham said...

I have a love/hate relationship with the beginning of a new story. For one, you're starting off with strangers. Two, the beginning you choose is inevitably the place where you won't start because it won't fit the character or the end.

I'm actually getting crabby because I haven't worked on my writing project in almost a week. I feel backed up and I'm starting to snipe at people. Urgh.

Annie Louden said...

Ha ha, bandwagons to toilets! You do have mad writing skillz.

I don't outline either (I've tried, too) but I love starting stories. I don't like writing the middles and endings. It's easy for me to start with a couple people or a situation and play with it, but then I think, "Where is this going?" and I don't know. And like you said, it takes more than a day to figure that out. So I stall! Or I start a billion stories and never finish one.

I should probably slink back over to your RS group. I don't know... I think I need to be beaten with, like, the motivation stick. I need one of those parole ankle bracelets, and it can go off every time I get more than 24 hours away from my novel.

Katie Anderson said...

Well I definitely needed to read this encouragement today! I just started a new one too and it feels just like you said.

It makes me feel better to know that I am not the only one :-)

Good Luck! I keep shifting tenses and POVs just to see what feels best, but it's a mess so far. Grrrrrr..

Cali MacKay said...

I don't really care for writing the beginning either. It's not so bad if I have a vague idea as to the plot, but that's not always the case. That's when I hate writing the beginning since it feels like I'm floundering.

The characters seem to come easy enough for me, but not the plot. Hell, I don't even know what's going to happen when I'm more than halfway through the story.

Unknown said...

You definitely deserve a medal for the writing to toilet skills! Very impressive.

As I was reading, I was sitting there nodding. Uh huh. Uh huh. It is hard to begin! 500 words a day seemed like a lot! Now I'm doing that and more. I'm 11 chapters in and thoroughly enjoying it! I'm kind of dreading writing the climax and ending. As my husband keeps telling me, I've made this story a bit complex... Can I make it all make sense by the end? We shall see. If not, he'll be sure to point it out for me.

Aubrie said...

When I want to start something new I think about it and think about it when I'm driving to work, at work (although I know I should be paying attention to other things), before I sleep at night, while I'm eating lunch....until I have a good idea of what I want before I start to write anything down.

The problem is, sometimes when I start to write it down it's not as good as when it was in my head...

Jamie D. said...

Newbie jumping in - great blog! :-)

I had a rough start to the week. Had to force the writing on Monday night (that whole lack of sleep thing), and then last night, when I should have been writing, I was reading about writing instead. Bah.

Today though - today is a new day. I need to get started on a short story for a challenge this month, and I'm doing that this afternoon. I actually like starting new things - it's fascinating, interesting, meeting new characters, seeing new's the middle that always gets me. But I'm getting better at that.

I haven't done any editing on my novel draft yet this week either, and I need to keep working on that. The first draft worth cleaning up and polishing - I really *want* to work on it.

So here's to better progress from here on out...good luck with your "new beginning"!

Tess said... crack me up!

I don't mind starting a new project. In fact, I have about seven 'first thirty pages' novels piled in the corner of my office. There is truth to your point about knowing and loving the characters, however. For me, it's round about draft three when I feel really connected to them.

Rebecca Knight said...

Great post, Elana!

I find starting something new both incredibly exciting (yay, brave new world!) and incredibly daunting (oh, snap, now I have to create a new world).

It's a bitch, plain and simple.

I think my biggest worry is that I have to create a map of my new world so I know where the heck my characters are going to go and who they're going to meet there. I'm not very spatial, so this part is the hardest for me. Oy.

Anyone else writing fantasy have this problem? ;)

Elana Johnson said...

Annie - you are hilarious! Motivation stick and parole ankle bracelets. Hmm...I feel another blog post coming on. Priceless!

Tess, I have tons of first pages too. I wish they were good...

Jamie! Welcome to Mindless Musings! We have so much fun here!

Tere Kirkland said...

I LOVE LOVE LOVE starting something new. It's like there's so much potential to create something amazing. I hate meeting new people, but I love making up new characters. I guess the dork in me loves the research phase, too.

And I love finishing stories. I think I must be one of those people who rush through the beginnings and the ends, but slow down in the middles.

I can't wait to start a new project, but I just can't concentrate enough on it while I'm starting the querying process for my last project.

Soon, my pretties, soon...

Kate Karyus Quinn said...

Oh wow, I know exactly where you are coming from because I am absolutely DREADING starting something new. I don't even have an idea right now for what I want to work on next, it's like my brain is just attached to my current project and won't budge from it.

Anyway, good luck with your new story - it sounds like you are off to a good start!

Unknown said...

Okay, that's freaky. I just finished an impassioned blog about how I hate starting new projects. I'll have to try and remember that after you work for a while on the beginning, you're no longer in the beginning anymore. Thanks for the tip!

Michelle McLean said...

I liked starting the one I'm working on, liked starting TL, and I am looking forward to starting my next one. But I've also got 4 books I have started that I didn't enjoy starting. I wanted to get the story out, but it felt like work. I was still too attached to the characters in my last book and didn't want to leave them for something new. But for this time around at least, I enjoyed starting it.

Maybe this is why I tend to like the editing process better. Cause whether I'm just changing a little or rewriting whole scenes, I am working with material I am familiar with and love.

lisa and laura said...

Oh gosh, don't remind me. We're outliners and cranking out that first draft of our outline is SO HARD. We literally sit in a room while I spout off ideas and Laura pokes holes in my plot. It's kind of horrible, but it always feels so good when we're done. I guess for us, the beauty of having an outline means that writing the rest of the book is sort of easy. Obviously we deviate, at least we know where we're going with the whole mess.

Danyelle L. said...

I'm the opposite. I love meeting new people, even if they only exist in my head. But when I sense the end is near (for the story), I get the blues and have to really force myself to finish.

Good job at getting started! I hear you on smoothing. When you're done with the zamboni, could I borrow it? ;-)

Anonymous said...

HA...I am so there with you! I have been putting off ending my current WiP - mostly cause I don't know exactly what to do next.

So I've been working on a short story or two, a million blog posts and everything else - just to procrastinate a little longer...

That was until today...when the next story,started writing itself...REALLY writing itself.

So, maybe I'll be working on something new by the weekend after all.

ali cross said...

I love ya Elana. So fun to visit your blog. :)

Depending on the story, I like or don't like starting, lol. Some stories, the voice is just in my head and I start typing and WHOA the whole beginning is right there. Other stories, it's like pulling teeth because, like you said, I have no idea who these people are they don't know who I am and they're maybe not too keen on sharing their deepest darkest secrets with me, lol.

Right now, I'm starting something new and it's one of those happy occasions where everything is going swimmingly--mind you, it's the second in a series, so I already know these people. MUCH easier.

ND_Green said...

Actually, I just started something new. I love it when I get a great idea and I'm putting down all the prelim stuff (I don't outline either; I just do a brief sketch).

Then, I get a few words down, I get stuck for the first time, realize how flat and stupid the writing sounds and I hate the project for the next few thousand words or so until I have an "aha" moment. And from there on out, the process is a series of ups and downs. But similar to you, I like the middle/end parts of my first drafts much more than the beginnings. I find fixing beginnings the most painful part of revising. Well, one of the most painful parts...

Carolyn Kaufman | @CMKaufman said...

Oh, I wish 33,000 words were enough for mine! ;-)

I don't mind's keeping going that can be tough for me!

jdsanc said...

I, too, love the new.
I've been writing short stories lately while I'm pushing my book around. Love it. In 1500-4000 words I can chunk in a good story and then start anew. It's terrific fun because done is done, which I have yet to find in my book where I change words, punctuation, something just about every time I look at it.

Unknown said...

I'm totally opposite--I'd much rather start something new rather than work on the same old thing. Hate revisions!

Sony Laptop Parts said...

Wow.. All I have to say isssss bravvvvoooo! Honestly, most people look @ life and really see that there is just sooo much to accomplish that they don't even know where to begin. And then, years down the line they end up regretting not taking the first steps to help them excel in their career. But you, you are the definition of true efforts and really, I think you got to where you want to be by 'planning'
Planning is something that sounds so simple, but while in Oxford, we learned that if you want to make it big in life just like those wealthy people, you have to A) Start Young (and) B) Plan ahead
And literally planning ahead got me to where I want to be in life with a six figure income and I bless every day that I live, really. All I have to say is kudos to another individual that lives his life successfully like I do :)

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