Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Stuck


I’m stuck. Progress on my book has been slowing for months, and now it’s stalled completely. All four wheels spinning fruitlessly, engine sputtering, mud up to the floorboards -- stuck. I could blame it on the holidays, my ever-encroaching day job, or Tiger Woods, but the real problem is I still don’t know which direction to take my rewriting. Every time I think I’ve made a decision, I write a scene, scrap it, and change my mind.

The way I see it, I have two options. Option One involves keeping the plot similar to how it is now and making some significant character changes. A healthy amount of work, but not as bad as Option Two, which requires me to get rid of one character and bring another character back to life. If I go this route, I have to throw out about 50 pages and write a hundred. Which at my current rate of prolificacy would take me a year. Painful -- yes-- but it’s not uncommon for writers to have to throw out hundreds, even thousands, of pages to make a piece come together. It’s one of the reasons writers are generally miserable people.

I think Option Two may allow for a greater character change (a stronger narrative arc, to be fancy) and a more powerful ending. But I’m not sure. I’m worried that I’ll put all that time into a new direction and my book won’t end up any a better. I know I need to pick a road and just move forward -- and not look back. There’s a fine line between finessing and obsessing, and at some point, I just need to do the best I can, finish that first novel and send it out -- or throw it in the proverbial desk drawer -- and move on.

7 comments:

  1. You can do it, Brian! Stick to the course and know that you've got lots of people cheering for you!

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  2. You can't make decisions based on how long it will take you to do the work. You've got to make the right decisions for your story, and the answers reside in your gut. Think about it, if you wrote 1 page per night before bed, just one, then you would have your hundred pages mid-March. That seems reasonable in the grand scheme of things. And use those 50 pages you cut as kindling... it's always liberating to throw away the dead brush.

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  3. You always feel better about yourself when you work the hardest. Go for option #2. You will be writing for the rest of your life. Stop rushing. Maybe you can work on two projects simultaneously. Either way, you have my love and support.

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  5. Brian,
    Go for it! One page at a time. You have all of us here to proived support and to hear about the adventrue in the rewrite!

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  6. I say scrap the whole thing and meet me in Miami! We will come up with a new story and you can come back to this one!

    -jm

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  7. Option 2. Do it man. I feel option 2 for you.

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