Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Tough Love

Sometimes you have to be cruel to be kind. To yourself that is. One of the books I’m currently working on has for a long time presented me with a huge mental block. The first 30k words are fine, but then I would zone out and couldn't progress. The following 20k words just weren’t doing it for me.

So I pressed delete. Hours of work gone just like that. But the weights have been lifted from my eyes, the restraints of the previous plot threads gone and now I am able to look at it with fresh eyes. The reason that section wasn’t working was because it was forced, not organic. I was trying to force my characters to be something they weren’t for the sake of a pre-determined plot line.

Now they have room to grow. I’m not entirely sure what will become of them at this point, but having written more in a day than I had in several months on this particular book, I know I’ve made the right decision.

Sometimes you just have to admit when something isn’t working and go back to the drawing board. On this occasion, at least, I’m glad I did.

4 comments:

  1. ooh that sounds like a very hard thing to do! Well done though (that isn't meant to sound patronising)

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  2. Deleting 20k is a brave thing to do. I've been there and like you spent months wondering what to do - it's horrible to have to delete such a large amount of work, but if it means you are reenergised for the projet, then them's the dice!

    I take it your not a plotter then? I am, and struggle with the letting the story grow naturally, or fit into a plot. I've almost got a blended approach. But it's never easy.

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  3. Brave, or mad?! Seems to have done the trick though, at least for the moment. As far as plotting goes...it depends on the book. Some have very clear plots in place when I start, others I make up as I go. Personally, I prefer the latter because it's more exciting. But it doesn't always end well! :)

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  4. So pleased you shifted the block. I had one last year when I was trying to force myself to write a Mills & Boon novel. I knew something was wrong when my characters began discussing the pattern in the living room curtains!

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