I’ve written about the stages of writing before. When I start a book, I’m on a high. I think I’ve got a really cool concept and awesome characters. Then somewhere (the evil Chapter 4), things start to become difficult. I’m past the setup portion of the story. I’m beginning to learn that my characters aren’t perfect and, usually, aren’t cooperative. I’ve usually got clear ideas for later sections of the book, but getting there is a problem. Somewhere along the line, though, things become brighter again. After thinking the book is a total piece of doodoo, I begin thinking it’s okay. Maybe even pretty good. And then, the words really start coming and it’s a a mad dash to the wonderful ending I’ve envisioned since I wrote the words “Chapter One.”
Something different is happening with this book, though. I was coming out of the middle portion and thinking that things were gelling together nicely. I had a path plotted out to the finish line. The words should be flowing, and in some ways, they are. I’m getting words. A lot of them, actually, and they’re coming quickly. It’s just such an effort right now. It feels mechanical instead of exciting. I’m nearing the ending, but gaaaahhhh. I just wish it was over.
That’s not a good feeling when you’ve put so much time into a book. I’m confident that things will get better. I’m just facing the blank page syndrome. I hate the actual process of getting words onto paper (or the screen). Chapter Nine’s first draft is complete, but it’s very rough. I think all the components are there, but it needs a lot of editing. Fortunately, that’s what I do best. I can add in the descriptions and the emotions and all the little things that make a chapter go smoothly.
I just wish I could be more excited about it. Maybe I just need sleep.
Chapter 8 is done. I began this project saying I was going to be sprinting, but it’s been more of a slog. Until this chapter! Things always go better when I have the story line plotted out in detail. I’m gathering all the different threads of the story and joining them back together. The story is coming together to the climax, but little do our characters know that there’s still a bit more trouble ahead.
Chapter 8 word count = 4100
Total word count = 39,450
Story is 79% complete
I still have more than a quarter of the book left to write, but I know how I’m going to get to the ending. I’ve mapped out what happens in each of the remaining chapters, and now I just need to follow that path. I’ve got about a thousand words already in Chapter Seven, and I’m feeling pretty good about the story. I wasn’t sure in the mid-portion, when I was struggling. I think I’ve finally got a handle on my characters and their motivations. Things are going well for them right now, but a dark moment is coming up!
Chapter 6 is finished, but it was another trip into the valley and a hard chug out. I think I’m struggling with my hero. I like him a lot, but he’s unconventional . That’s challenging me. He’s not an alpha male, so when situations arise, I need him to react differently. Yet still be sexy and appealing and heart-melting, etc. I think he’s all those things. Unfortunately, it’s just taking me longer to write his story, because I want to do it justice.
It’s always Chapter 4. It doesn’t matter what story I’m writing, Chapter 4 is always a bear. It’s the natural breaking point between the introduction of the characters and the set-up of the story and the middle of the book. For some reason, that transition is hard — even if I know how I want it to go. In this case, I jinxed myself, because I said I said it should go fast.
It so didn’t.
According to my time log, it took 14.5 hours to edit! Aggggg. (Yes, I log how much time I spend writing. It appeals to the geeky side of me.) The chapter just didn’t flow. The first half is written from the heroine’s point-of-view (POV), while the second half is from the hero’s. For the longest time, I couldn’t even get to the hero’s half, because I was stuck on the heroine’s scene like a needle stuck on a record. I kept going over it and over it, trying to fix it. After a couple of days, I finally realized I had an info dump. An info dump is when there’s not much going on, but you’re just spewing information all over the reader. It could be backstory, or it could be a character’s thoughts. In this case, I’d jumped forward in time, but was explaining what had happened in the interim. Not good.
The problem was how to fix it? And that was a pain. I brought in another character so the heroine could have somebody to talk to, instead of just running through things in her head. That helped. Then I switched the sequence of events. It’s still not perfect, but it’s better. Finally, I had to step away from it.
When I got to the hero’s POV, I again thought it would be smooth sailing. That’s where the love scene begins, but not even it went smoothly. And that’s a problem!
Anyway, I’m now considering Chapter Four in good enough shape to move on to Chapter Five. Never again will I assume that a Chapter Four will be easy — because Chapter Fours are evil.
That chapter went a lot more smoothly, and I’m feeling better about the story. I’m looking forward to Chapter Four, because it’s a love scene. Those always go fast. Wait. That didn’t sound good. Stamina and all… What I mean is that they’re fast to write, because… Oh, I don’t know. They just are!
1210 words today, and it was the pivotal scene that kicks of the rest of the book. I cranked out all those words in about 45 minutes. I love when the words start flowing. I think I might actually have to cut some of it. Usually my problem is that I’m too succinct, and I need to go back and add layers and get my word count up. This still needs layers,, but it needs to be pared down. Still, I think I got a pretty good first layer put down. It was a good day.