Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Like a House of Cards

In the last two weeks or so, I've started and deleted more blog entries than ever before. Truth is, I'm in a rough patch, and I keep deleting blog entries because I like to keep my angst private.

In a nutshell, I finished the book I was working on. Throughout the book, the response was very good—and there are lots of things to like about it. But I realized when I finished that I didn't actually have a book. I had a set-up to a longer series. There was no plot. And most people like a plot in their book.

This, naturally, has provoked an intense round of soul-searching. What the hell? How could I make such a rookie, dumb error? How could I not see such a thing until readers pointed it out? This isn't my first book, or my second, or even my fifth. Anyway, in between moping and feeling like a moron and all that discouragement, I just couldn't find the heart to blog about writing. So I've been taking a break.

In my original plan, I would finish this draft and begin querying this summer. But that plan is shot now, and I had to spend a few days with the idea that this book was essentially worthless and could never be queried in its current form before I decided what to do.

Logic tells me I could easily move onto another project. But ultimately, when you get down to it, I'm just not that guy. I wish I could move on. I wish I could just shelve it and sit on it, let it go, and go onto another book. But I can't, even though I know I'm dangerously close to the line where determined becomes foolhardy and stubborn becomes self-destructive. I just hate giving up, and I WANT to get this story right. I've written two books about this same story now, not including all the world-building. It's like the story deserves a better writer than it got, but we're stuck together for now.

So I started over from a blank page. I started at chapter one and started rewriting another version of the same story, but I moved whole chunks of the story from future planned books into this one. I covered in the first five pages what took me 75 to cover before. I'm not even bothering to outline anymore. What's the point? I know the story and the world so well, it's like second nature at this point.

Anyway, I started out this blog entry to say that I was taking a vacation from blogging for a while. But ... I think I'll keep this version. Maybe one day, it'll make better sense.


Natasha Fondren said...

That's a great spot to be in: to know the world so well that you don't need an outline. Some great stuff can come of that, some truly awesome stuff. Janet Evanovich once said that she'd learned, in writing series, that you should never "save" stuff for the next book.

I'm accustomed to sort of having an instant world. I don't know. I've written and thrown away at least 60, 70K on my current WIP. It's certainly not working out as usual. But I'm determined.

I'm rooting for you, Jon. I really believe you'll get there.

Mark Terry said...

Hang in there.

magolla said...

Hugs, Monkey Man! I totally understand.

I wrote a BIG fantasy--loved the characters, loved the story, but couldn't generate any interest in it as it didn't fit well in any genre--not romance (though present,it wasn't the focus), and not fantasy (I mixed high and low fantasy with a dash of Magical Realism). :-P

I shoved it under the bed for a year, BUT then I started thinking--How did my protag get to this point? What was her backstory?

And I started writing about her journey. During the process, I found my 'voice'. I'm a middle grade writer. I love the stories. I love my ability to show my sense of humor that was 'too juvenile for romance'. I've generated a little interest with my first story, but that's okay. I'm happy that after eight years of writing I know who I am as a writer.

Jude Hardin said...

Keep the faith, my friend.

LurkerMonkey said...

Thanks everybody ... maybe the third time's the charm.

Melanie Avila said...

Ugh, I don't think I'd be able to come up with any blog posts with that going on either.

Good luck. I agree with the third time's the charm.