Paying Attention to the Story

Story telling is more than just the technical bits of getting words onto the page, right?

By now I really should know things — most of the things — about my storytelling process. It’s a bit annoying (and humbling) when I realize I don’t.

In January I was making great progress with the WIP. In February I added a non-fiction book to my WIPs ‘pile’. (file-pile?). In March I effectively slammed the breaks on all writing, and have done nothing beyond blog posts since. This week I finally cracked open the fiction WIP, discovered that in the time between January and now I convinced myself that I had 8k words less than I actually have, and that the scenes sucked.

They don’t suck. They are awesome, and I love them, and rereading them brought me to a place of, “*I* wrote this? Really?? But, this is *good*!”

It also helped realize that a huge portion of my reluctance to write is that I don’t like what I have planned for the next 2-3 chapters. I like where I have my MCs going, I agree that they need to get to that point, but I don’t like how I’m going about it, it does not fit them or their relationship. Yes, as I work toward the climax of the book I need to do terrible, awful, horrible things to Charlie and Roern . . . . but they have to be the right terrible, horrible, awful things and, more to the point, the reactions that Roern and Charlie have (especially Charlie) need to fit their personalities.

So tomorrow I’m writing a new outline and then diving back in!

My only regret is that I wish I had realized earlier that this was why I was dragging my feet. The second I say, “Meh, I don’t really want to write,” really ought to be the second I realize something is off with my story. I’d decided, in my mind, that since I’m outlining now, my standard MO of having the second half of my longer works fall apart to reform into how they are really meant to be would no longer happen — but that’s maybe not going to be true. Maybe what outlining is going to do for me is help me realize sooner when I’m off track? In my defense, there was a lot of nerve pain and health issues, so I was distracted, but I’d like to know sooner that the “eh, writing, bleh.” is about the actual story and less about me being tired/sick/in need of mental refueling.

So far, I have *not* finished the first book in the series, though I’d planned to be on book 2 (and halfway through it) by now. Alas. I still hold out hope that I may get them all written this year. But if not . . .well, my plans were over-ambitious, and I realize that.

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