Monday, December 19, 2005

Starting over can be soooo tough sometimes

I started writing my YA today.

Then I deleted five pages I'd written and started over.

Then I decided that it was still wrong and took a break.

Now I'm back, and I'm going to delete everything and start over again.

It seems that the better I get at writing, the tougher it becomes to write. Why? Because I can see now when things don't work. When I first started writing, everything I wrote was brilliant (in my poor deluded mind, that is) and the books flew off my fingers.

Today, when something is off in my writing, I see it. Usually. Well, more often than I used to. On the one hand, that's great because substantially raises the quality of my writing. On the other hand, it can make for some really slow days, because I have to keep deleting what I've written because it's flawed.

By flawed, I don't mean that I have an awkward sentence or I didn't put in enough description. Those are easy fixes to be addressed during the revision phase. By flawed, I mean, the main character has become a snide, sniveling cretin who should be killed instead of playing the lead role in the story. Or the entire tone of the book is veering off into the wrong direction. Or I detest the characters (the ones I'm supposed to like), which means my reader will detest them too. Or I am suddenly shedding tears of anguish while writing a scene in a book that's supposed to be a comedy. These are the big problems, the kind that make me stop in my tracks and realize I'm going to have to highlight too many pages and press DELETE.

Once I get two thirds of the way through a book, I usually have enough set up that I don't run into this problem anymore. But starting a book is a whole other ball-o-wax. I think I started MUST LOVE DRAGONS six different times. In the end, I loved it. But those were some frustrating times.

And now I'm facing the same problem again. But I'm trying to stay positive. I'm trying to stay confident. I'm trying to remember that every time I start a book, this happens, and it always ends up okay. I'm trying to remember that the reason I'm running into this problem is because I'm experienced enough to realize what's not working (that's a good thing). Frustration will make it more difficult to work though it, and it is unnecessary.

Now, the trick is to make myself remember all that, live by it, and get this book off the ground without banging my head on the keyboard and crying repeatedly for hours on end. Although it might be worth it if it gets my dh to suggest going out to dinner to cheer me up... hmm...


At 6:59 PM, Blogger Trish Milburn said...

It's the good and the bad of being at this stage, both in a new manuscript and in your career. Like you said, you'll get through it and it'll be fabulous when you do.

At 11:18 AM, Blogger Stephanie Feagan said...

Steph, I think I'm channelling you, or something. I'm working on another proposal for Next, and it sucks - over and over...
But I know, one of the starts will click and I'll be off and running. It's just the getting there that's painful.

Hang in there - and go for dinner.


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