Moving Forward

How I see my heroine, Katherine Shaw. PHOTO CREDIT

I decided that since my children are back in school now and my routine is back to normal, I need to focus more on blogging about my writing journey since, well….that is what this blog is all about πŸ™‚

The only problem is that I don’t like talking about my current WIP, The Awakening of Katherine Shaw. I honestly don’t know why this is the case, but it is. It even made me cringe to type the title just now.

Okay, that’s a lie. Not the cringing part, but the not knowing why part. The truth is that it’s Fear of Failure. She’s a bitch if you’ve never dealt with her before. The more I talk about a project, the more expectations build around it and I’m scared I won’t deliver.

There. I said it. I’m scared.

And I posted Friday about Fear and how I wasn’t going to let it keep me from moving forward. I didn’t get very far, huh?

Well, I’m kicking it in the teeth today and moving on anyway!

If I don’t blog about my WIP I know I’m less likely to work on it like I should because I need accountability.

So, I’m forcing accountability upon myself πŸ™‚

This is where I am:

  • I’ve written the first draft and gone back through it, revising/rewriting and looking for problems. So, I guess I’m really now working with the second draft though it still feels like the first πŸ™‚
  • My plotting sucked so I’m now digging deeper and finding ways to repair it. 
  • Today begins a whole new outlook. Friday I played with the POV, changing from 1st to 3rd person limited from more than one character. And I liked it. And it worked better for this story. I claim the right to change my mind at any time, but for now, I like 3rd better than 1st which is usually not the case for me.
The Awakening of Katherine Shaw came to me in 3 parts. I knew the theme, beginning and end of each part, each part meaning book.
So…as I write the first, I also have to figure out the 2nd and 3rd, as they are sequels….continuations of one long story. This is part of what has attributed to the amount of time it’s taken for me to figure this thing out. 
A huge pet peeve of mine is reading a trilogy or saga and feeling like the subsequent books weren’t originally meant to be, or, finding huge plot holes that could have been filled had the author thought about it ahead of time.
I am attempting to weave in threads in this first novel that can be seen in Book 2 and 3. I love those “OMG, I remember that,” moments in books when well hidden pieces suddenly fit together, and I want to create that.
Creating that takes a lot of work.
It also requires considerably more plotting than I prepared for when I started this.
In the beginning I pantsed. Completely and totally. I just sat down and wrote to my heart’s content, because by nature I’m a pantser….winging it as I go.
Then I started editing and breaking apart my first draft. I had one word: Ick.

I knew I could do better and what I’d done was an injustice not only to myself but to the characters and world that I’ve spent so much time building.
So how do I fix it???
Well…when I read, I examine the writing. I have a list of things I look for. I break down structure, I look at descriptive methods, I look at grammar and dialogue. I note point of view and conflict, character building and arc. My list is a mile long.
But…This helps me learn different techniques and also helps me note things I don’t like. In other words, it helps me develop MY craft which I believe is unique and individual for every writer. I don’t believe in cookie-cutter methods to writing, but I do believe every writer should study other works so that they can find methods and styles similar to their own. I think this helps writers hone their craft.
When I started writing, my craft was extremely limited. I could tell a story, and I had a good one to tell. But as far as knowing the proper methods or tools to use? I had no idea. I wrote backstory until I was blue in the face. I used passive voice like it was golden. Purple prose? I was queen. Pointless scenes? I could win an award for that one. 
But….through those mistakes, I’ve learned. This process has been eye opening and now I can pinpoint problem areas with ease where before I was clueless to their level of suckiness.
So…back to how I plan to fix my WIP. My own writing is not spared from the kind of critique I give other writer’s work.
These are the things that I’ve found lacking in my novel:
  1. Originally, the inciting incident took to long to get too. Far too much backstory/set-up took it’s place. Readers are a product of a cinema culture. Can you think of a movie that spends the first thirty minutes telling you what happened 10 years ago? Probably not. (Unless the inciting incident happened 10 years ago). Whatever event sets things in motion usually occurs early on. It should be that way in novels too.
  2. Point Of View: I’ve struggled with this since I started writing. My heroine, whose POV this is originally written in, has too limited knowledge of what’s happening. It takes away from the story. I’ve tried telling it from the hero’s POV and that was always easier, but it wasn’t his story alone to tell. So…now I’m attempting to write in 3rd person limited. I’m studying Deep POV and alternating between the POV of the main characters to which this story is happening. So far it’s a much better view of their world, their plight, and the conflict they face.
  3. Lack of sequence of events following an action: The typical rule of thumb for the sequel which comes after a scene is emotion, thought, decision, action. Sometimes writers vary this sequence according to how the response would typically unfold, but all 4 are extremely vital to fiction writing. Every scene/sequel should consist of action and reaction. That’s what they are. Scene states goal, motivation and conflict and ends in disaster or at least failure of goal. Sequel is the character’s reaction and by nature, we humans react in the ETDA pattern. The sequel also acts as a springboard into the next scene. I’m now going back through, looking at every action and checking to see if the reaction that follows unfolds the way it should.
  4. Depth of Plot: As I said, I’m spending a lot of time on my plot. Originally the stakes weren’t high enough for anyone involved, and the conflict wasn’t great enough. As they say, the writer should get the main character up in a tree and then throw rocks at them. I was throwing pebbles. Sometimes she wasn’t even in the dang tree. I’m changing that now.
  5. When this idea came to me, I knew the endings of Parts 1 & 2 concluded with the heroine attaining her goal, just not how she thought she’d attain it. She also ends up seeing a portion of the bigger goal as a result. The problem is that the endings are sort of cliffhanger-ish, which I love, though  I know many people don’t. These are not stand-alone books so far. Which is another worry for me since agents/publishers often say that’s a hard sell for a new author. Unfortunately, if I change the endings, it won’t be the same story. So…I will be researching books that end in a not-so-typical way. Because as of now, the endings of this WIP are not happy. Granted, the main plot arc is wrapped up, but it ain’t happy. And reader’s may hate me. 
These are just the basic things I’ve picked up on. I still have to make sure that I set-up for events that take place in book two and three, (even though they may never see the light of day), because just in case they do, the clues need to be there. 
So I have lots of work to do! Wish me luck!!
How about you guys? Where are you at on your WIP’s?

ALSO!! Don’t forget that I’m hosting a book giveaway. All you have to do is comment HERE.

And…check out The Writer’s Resource Site for helpful blog posts by topic.

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8 Comments

  1. I'm a little more than half-way finished with the first draft of my WIP, my first attempt at a novel. I started out writing third-person limited pov, limited to one of two main characters.

    But it wasn't until I'd written about 30,000 words that I realized she wasn't getting/giving enough info about the other main character. I needed to alternate pov in order to tell the complete story; or, at least, to give the story more emotional urgency.

    Thanks for sharing your journey your own challenges. It's helpful for me to see how you tackle various problems that arise. And good luck as you move toward publication!

  2. @August Awe!! You've made my day. This is what I hoped for when I started blogging…to maybe help someone else figure out how to tackle their own stumbling blocks in the writing process. Thanks so much for commenting and best of luck!!!

  3. That's great that you're back on track for the fall and back to making progress. It is scary to work through the various stages of the writing process…I have two WIPs and neither have gotten much attention over the summer which gives me tremendous anxiety. Will I ever write again? This sometimes runs through my mind. I also get slowed down by talking about my writing too much…. which is a problem because I blog about it. I like how you went through and critiqued and analyzed where you stand on your work…. it's a great exercise that I will probably follow suit on next week when everything settles down for the fall in my household! Great post!

  4. I'm similar to you. I find it hard to write about my WIP too. I don't like to talk about the story, or what I'm writing into or out of it. But I don't mind writing about the process-the writing, editing, querying process. It's scary because I know failure is a possibility, but my readers are so supportive, I can't help but to include them on my journey.

  5. I love those OMG moments too!

    I'm finishing the last chapter of my wip (it's been a weird struggle for some reason) and then revision hell awaits πŸ™‚

  6. I feel ya; I have one series where each book only takes place in the same universe, minimal contact between books. Then I have another where each plot builds upon the last book towards one giant crescendo at the end. I finally had to write each book back to back with no editing in between, treating it as one giant book. (And I'm still scared to go back and start editing.)

    I am attempting to weave in threads in this first novel that can be seen in Book 2 and 3. I love those "OMG, I remember that," moments in books when well hidden pieces suddenly fit together, and I want to create that.

    Yeeesss, those moments are fantastic!

  7. What an awesome post! I can relate to everything you said about your fears of sharing. Doesn't it feel good to let that go? For me, it led to so many breakthroughs. It's very hard to write a good first book in a bubble. Can't wait to read your book!