Monday, July 18, 2011

I'm sick of you and your stupid face

I began working on a book just after receiving my very first contract in 2009. It was a paranormal romance, one with characters I enjoyed, a plot I felt was fun and innovative, even if it was a bit darker than what I typically wrote. I choked out the first 12k or so before hitting a brick wall. I didn’t understand my main character, her motivations, and every word I wrote felt forced and, well, wrong. So I shelved the project and sank into a stagnant writer’s block that lasted about 9 months. Oh, I’d get a few words written here or there, but overall, I couldn’t get a move on it or anything else that fell on my lap.

In July of 2010, I began a new day job—one with about 150% less daily stress than my former. Gradually, I dragged myself out of the funk, picked up this book, blew off the dust, and decided to start writing again. In October, I became distracted with another project that took about 6 weeks to write and decided to make itself a series rather than a standalone. In December, I decided to either make it or break it with that first book, gutted the beginning, rewrote scenes and changed my characters. Last night, I finally typed the epilogue.

Accomplished? Ecstatic? Excited? Yes. I’m all of these things.

Above else… I am so freaking sick of this book, it’s not funny.

Now, don’t get me wrong: I’m very proud of the book, proud of the story, and will happily work on it during the editing process and whatever else comes next. But in terms of writing it, I’ve carried these characters for two long years. Even the days when I didn’t write them, they were still with me. Imagine spending 730 consecutive days with the same people who are doing the same thing—or worse, slowly doing something they should have already accomplished. I’m just tired of carrying them with me day after day. Sure, I still have a ways to go, but the first part in a larger, longer process is behind me, and I got to say, aside from accomplishment, I feel relieved.

This is a natural reaction. I’ve felt it before regarding stories I love, and I’ll feel this way again. Getting tired of your plot or your characters is not a warning it’s a bad story. It’s just symptomatic of waking up day after day with more of the same. You just have to decide whether or not it’s worth it to you to keep pressing on with a certain project, or taking a break and hoping some time away will give you renewed energy. Although if you’re anything like me, not writing doesn’t mean not working; I worked on this book every day, whether or not I wrote a word. Now, even though it’s hardly the end, I can at least take comfort in the fact that the characters are where they need to be.

So don’t fret if you can’t stand the sight of your main character’s name. It might just mean you two need some time apart to find the love for each other again.


Anonymous said...

I love this: "I worked on this book every day, whether or not I wrote a word." I never thought about it that way, but SO TRUE! Awesomeness outta you, girlfriend!

Lissa Matthews said...

I went through this same kind of thing. I'm working on a book I started in October of last year. About 2 weeks before it was due, I hit a brick wall. I tried to write on it still, but nothing worked. I couldn't get over, under, through, or around the wall. I couldn't work on anything else either, though I tried. I stayed in that place for about 4 months. It was hard and I finally worked myself out of it. I wrote another book, sent it in. I started about 5 other books until the characters from the book last year finally started talking again. I am nearing the end of their story, have a couple of scenes to go and I'll be done. It's doubled in size from what had originally been planned. I'll be glad to be done with it. I know what it's like to be there. Congrats on finishing.

Rosalie Stanton said...

@Lissa -- it's strange the way that happens, isn't it? You'll be going through the motions of a WIP, and suddenly the characters from a shelved WIP start yapping. And then you're all like, "You? You choose now to start whining?" Heh.

Congrats on getting so close to the end. That is an amazing feeling...especially on those works you know you want to finish, but secretly fear will never see the light of day. Keep me posted. :) (And thanks!)

@Sarah - heh. Thanks, sweetie. And thank you again for all your cheerleading on the book in question. It really helped me make it to the end. (As in -- you have no idea how much)

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