Wednesday, December 5, 2012

WIP Wedneday #1 -- Querying vs. Middles

So, WIP Wednesdays are no uncommon thing, and I certainly babble about my WIPs often enough, but I liked the idea of having a structured time and place for that. Author and blogger Anna Staniszewski does these lovely once-a-month-or-so WIP Wednesdays which I liked better than weekly updates, so I thought I'd adopt that concept over here.

And the thing is? I LOVE hearing how other people's WIPs are going, what projects they're working on, etc; so I hope you guys will share about your WIPs  as well. (I really mean that! Share! Comment! I want to hear about it!)

Project one - MIRRORPASS

I just wanted to do a quickie update on MIRRORPASS since it's still out on submissions. So far? Those have been going pretty good. I debated how much to share, and I think I'm going to go with, "there's been interest." Nothing extraordinary, but not too shabby, either. Right now I'm working on reigning in the daydreams and keeping my perspective, but I know some days I end up walking around with a secret smile on my face. I think I described it to one friend as feeling like a swallowed star.

Project two - Shutterbug

A little catchup first. Some interesting things have happened since I wrote this post mid-October. Basically, I wrote the first third of the novel in this mad rush during September, and then kind of remembered I was a college student with homework assignments, so I spent the entirety of October playing catchup, not writing much at all. And then I spent a lot of November...also not writing.

When I look at my writing records, it wasn't all that bad, but it felt bad. I went from writing 35k in two weeks, to writing a scant handful of times in the next two months.

September - 35k
October - 8k

November - 9k

And my current wordcount is 57k.

I have definitely slowed down (although I am still proud of that progress.) Some of this was intentional; after the mad September rush, I needed to gather my thoughts and recover some creative stamina. But I was also getting a little nervous about how fast I was going. Was this going to last? Should I keep pushing myself? Would that kill it? If I slowed down, would I be able to start again, or would I lose it?

When pushing started making me grumpy about the whole project, I slowed down and started working at a more natural pace. It took me a little bit to find a solid balance between pacing myself, pushing myself, and procrastinating (hello, Pinterest) but I think I'm settling into a good rhythm. 

Nice as it was to write that much that fast, this feels much more natural to me. I tend to brainstorm a lot. I'll write for three or four days, then stop for a week or two just to think about what happens next. If I don't do this, I hit deadzones where I have to back up and figure out where I went wrong. The problem with this method, though, is middles. Because middles take a lot of figuring out.

When writing MIRRORPASS, I came up with this theory that the best and natural way to handle middles is to send your characters on some kind of journey. It could be a physical journey, or it could be a personal quest, or it could be the Rocky Balboa training montage, or in a romance it might be the period when the characters are falling blissfully in love and their relationship is coming into it's own. So even though Shutterbug is past the halfway point wordcount wise, I have finally hit my middle journey--Toby setting off on his search to find Mirelle.

This is exciting. And a little scary. And a bit intimidating. I have a lot of plot threads I have to weave with perfect intricacy, or things are going to get clunky fast. Some areas are still gray smudges to me. I'm trying to accomplish some things I've never done before--like getting my characters to fall in love, and a John Green-esque quest. It's going to take a lot of thought to pull off.

At the same time, though, the middle is where Major Things Begin To Happen. Stuff is Set Into Motion. All sorts of dramatic, painfully sweet scenes are coming up, some of them scenes I have been dreaming of since the very beginning. Then once I'm through the smudgy grey area, the climax buildup is going to happen fast. That is where things get super exciting. Like, I get jittery thinking about it.

So, currently? My biggest problem is that I need to just write. To not let the idea of the middle or the gray areas get to me. Because honestly, once I start writing, this novel just flows so easy. It's ridiculous to keep waffling like this.

As motivation, I sent the draft off to a couple first readers, and I also set myself a loose deadline to finish it by the end of December break. So there, wafflepants. I've got a deadline now. Time to bring it.

Okay. Your guys' turn! Tell me about your WIPs. Still working on your Nano novels, or did you skip Nano like me, and do you have something else you're working on? Any progress? Setbacks? Successes? Please do share!

Truly and always,
-Creative A

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