Now that it’s September, I thought I’d give you an update on the manuscript that I started in May (May 6, to be exact.)
Would you like to see my book? Take a peek.
(By the way, how awesome is Scrivener? Fantastic program.)
So, this is what I’ve been working on now for… Good grief, has it really been four months? That seems longer than just saying since May…
Since May, I’ve been working on this. And moving. Exploring. Hunting. (Jobs, that is.) Moving again. Hunting jobs. Again.
And writing. Always, always writing.
As you can see, I have twelve chapters and several “scenes.” My original outline is divided into 23 chapters. Not sure if I’ll have more or less now. With my first novel, I eventually ran into a wall with how to end it. I just couldn’t find a way to finish it that left me satisfied. And I had far too many characters that I was giving too much time to. With this novel, I was fortunate to have my ending pretty much set in stone. That hasn’t changed. Not at all. What I discovered was that I once I got to chapter eight, I wasn’t sure how to reach the ending.
I got blocked.
I’m not sure what happens to any of you, but when I have writer’s block, I’m still writing, I’m just writing in circles. I end up writing a lot of scenes with food. I put my characters around a table and make them talk. I’m not sure why. Maybe because I love how awkward people get when there’s conflict but they have to try and play nice. Like family dinners during the holidays.
I also write short little conversations that start and end with people walking down hallways. It’s like I get bored with the dialogue, so I make the character walk.
I’ve discovered three things help me with writer’s block:
1. Getting up and doing something else
With people. Without people, I just tend to fret over my writing.
When my friend Jessica visited me in New York, I didn’t touch my novel until her very last day. By that time, I was so psyched to write, I couldn’t help myself and started while she packed.
2. Writing by hand
Pretty much everything I handwrite is complete and utter crap. But I get all that crap out on paper so that when I start typing, I can actually salvage something out of it that is halfway decent.
Seriously. In the last month I’ve written three scenes that will never be in this novel. Never. I doubted who my characters were, and I wrote three moments that were terribly out of character. The good thing is that doing that helped me understand them better.
It helped me figure out who they could become, too. Writing by hand makes everything more tangible. Typing – typing drives me crazy.
3. Shaking things up
Once I realize my characters are just walking aimlessly around in my setting and arguing the same issues over and over again, I force them to do something. Usually that something involves weapons.
Earlier this week I went to Barnes & Noble. I was there for two hours, and I went with a plan that I was going to wreak havoc on my characters because I was so bored with them.
So I started a war. It was so much fun to write.
I’m still having issues:
• My villain seems determined to be more of a Snideley Whiplash than – well, who I want.
• As always, my biggest fear is that I’m going to make my heroine Bella Swan.
And I have questions:
• How do we really feel about love triangles?
Because my novel has one… Only I keep forgetting the third person in the triangle. I like the character, but I just don’t like forcing the relationship.
• Anyone know of any Christian contemporary fiction writers I should check out?
Because my novel is now Christian fiction. I was on the fence about that, mostly because I thought I would be limiting my story and my audience. Plus, I judge Christian fiction so harshly, but I made the decision this week that yes, I’m writing Christian fiction.
Seriously, I need a few good role models. I’m mean, I love C.S. Lewis, but I would like someone a little more… alive
(Can we classify Stephen Lawhead’s work as Christian fiction?)
My friend Jessica suggested I read Othello to find inspiration for my villain in Iago. That’s one of those Shakespeare plays I’ve never actually read, so I might as well. As for my heroine, well, I’ve been musing over this
Heroine Archetype: Katniss Everdeen [July 3, 2012]
Poll Results: Favorite Heroine [August 6, 2012].
However, I think my character is more like Eowyn than Katniss.
With a dash of Jill Pole.