Story Problems

Two weeks later…

I don’t know why I’m having such a hard time getting back into a blogging routine. When I had “Modicum of Talent,” I blogged reliably. Maybe I got burned out–I don’t know. In any case, it’s not so much that I forget about the blog. It’s more a combination of factors like the lack of routine in summer, the feeling that I really have nothing new to say, the reluctance to spend time during the day writing… It seems like blogging falls to the bottom of the priority list most of the time.

In any case, I have been writing.

I’ve missed a day once or twice, but I’ve made up the 500 words for that day when I get back to the computer. Overall, I’ve added about 6,500 words to Unquickened since I last blogged. It’s a snail’s pace, but it’s a pace, at least. (I just realized it’s only been about 13 days since I blogged, and I haven’t written yet today, so yay–that’s a little more than 500 words a day, on average.)

The biggest issue I’ve had the last couple of weeks is getting stuck in a mushy narrative. I’ve been trying to figure out what the problem is. I think I have this list of things that have to happen in Unquickened, but I don’t know how to craft the story to make them happen. The biggest problem is the Braedan arc; in many ways, he has the most important role in Unquickened, but I am having trouble finding the exact storyline for him. I’ve been struggling with his most recent chapter for some time, but this morning, I realized it’s more than just a Braedan problem–it’s an everyone problem.

This is a new frustration for me. In the past, I’ve been pretty much able to just start writing and watch the story show up. There’s usually a buttload of editing after that–loose ends, tangents, weird timelines, etc. have to be fixed or deleted. But to have basically NO arcs–just some beginnings and some endings–is weird.

I think I need to go back to square… well, not square one. Maybe square three or so. I have some pretty decent idea of where everyone starts this book, and I have a really good idea where everyone ends up. But I think before I write more of the middle, I need to back up and just make some notes, figure out what these characters want and how they’re going to get from point A to point Z, and play with the timeline a little bit. It was a bit of a mess at the end of Bloodbonded. I need to at least attempt to line everyone up at the beginning of Unquickened.

Maybe I shouldn’t be worrying about this part yet. The whole purpose of writing 500 words a day was just to start WRITING–to force myself to get something down on paper, even if it’s terrible and I end up deleting it. But I find myself terribly frustrated with the lack of story. Churning out 500 terrible words that go nowhere–endless, repetitive dialogue, usually–isn’t very fulfilling.

So if I’m going to write 500 words that don’t end up in the final book, I guess I may as well write 500 words that help me figure out where the book is going to go.

I’ve said before–all the words count. Even sketchy notes. They all count. They all serve a purpose in the effort to craft a compelling story. They all help make me a better writer.

We forget the cumulative effort of the small things. I think I said something like this in my last post! We’re always so busy trying to make things big, grand, and spectacular that we forget all the small things that have to go into those efforts. I’ve lost about 33 pounds so far. I didn’t do that in one month or one week or with one workout. That was a cumulative effort of one healthy meal at a time, one food choice at a time, one set of weight reps at a time, one jog at a time (at first, one walk at a time!).

We are a culture of instant gratification, now more than ever. We get frustrated when things don’t happen immediately. We forget all of little things upon which the grand things are built.

I’m not exactly sure what the next month will bring. School starts September 5. We’ve had a ridiculously lazy summer overall, but we still have to get ready for school with new clothes and supplies. And since I’m going back to a volunteer position in my troop, I’ll have to do some work around that (this is not a 20-hour-a-week job, though–don’t worry about that!). I would love to be able to write a little bit of narrative along with a few notes every day, but I don’t know if that will happen. I can aim for it, I guess. We’ll see.

But I guess I have to consider it a positive sign that at least I’m trying to push forward on this book. Six months ago, nine months ago, even a year ago, it didn’t seem possible.

I still honestly don’t know if there’s another story in me. But I will give it one more try.

That’s all I can do, I suppose.

Comments (2)

  1. tony

    All you can do is important.

    1. Amy Rose Davis (Post author)

      Here’s hoping it results in a story! 🙂


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