|Well, I'm a fan of disorganized structure.|
I am a great fan of structure (probably because I impose very little upon myself in everyday life). So I am attempting to give this blog some structure. So I’m declaring Wednesdays to be focused on my WIPs, whatever they may be at the moment. If you follow me on Twitter you might have seen some of my whining about the 5 WIPs I have been working on lately. I know. Bad idea. Don’t do it, kids!!
At any rate, I’ve gone back to just one for now because I JUST CAN’T LIVE THAT WAY. But the single MS I’ve chosen to focus on is giving me fits. FITS.
It occurs to me—the subtitle of this post really ought to be In Which I Moan About This Book I’m Writing. Cuz that’s what I’m going to do.
Writing is hard even when you know exactly what you’re doing. But right now, trying to write this particular story feels like trying to select the perfect mother’s day gift at a jewelry store in complete and utter darkness while wearing boxing gloves and trying to hold an agitated howler monkey under one arm.
In other words, darn near impossible.
"I want to write books that unlock the traffic jam in everybody's head." ~John Updike
Me too, John, but first I need to figure out the snarl in my own.
I guess this is part of the process. And also, to some degree, I feel like I never learn. If any of you haven’t read Hyberbole and a Half’s amazing post on this subject, do so now.
Anyway, I say I never learn because I’ve been here before. The last MS I completed, which is currently in a stalled state of revision (hey, DaVinci hardly ever finished anything either!), gave me the same sort of trouble.
Ultimately my biggest problem wasn’t plot (I figured that out partly on the fly and partly through an agonizing process of outlining).
It wasn’t the matter of writing itself, although you know my thoughts on that subject (I’m looking at you, dead elephant carcass).
It was the characters.
I have a whole blog post cooking on this subject (maybe I’ll post it soon). But basically the characters weren’t coming together right. It was mostly a matter of motivation. What was driving them? What were they trying to do? I didn’t have it figured out at the time, and until I knew what I was doing I was just spinning my proverbial wheels in the mud.
“Every character should want something, even if it is only a glass of water.” ~ Kurt Vonnegut
So I guess that’s what I’m doing now. I sit and I write a little bit and then I read it and grimace and then I eat ice cream cake. It’s a deadly spiral, folks. So right now I’m mulling the story over. I’m thinking about the characters and their wants and needs. What is driving them? What needs to be driving them? I’m on a quest to figure out exactly who my MC Shana is, and exactly what she wants. Some of this I will discover as I write the book, and some of it I already have.
I was going to post a small bit of the current MS since this is WIP Wednesday and I want to do more than just complain about it, but I can’t find a single segment that doesn’t need hefty editing.