So, during the submission process of my first novel, I was pretty much going crazy (OMG, the submission process quickly morphs from complete awesomeness to the most terrible thing in existence. It’s brutal. It’s crushing. It will make the fetal position your new norm). Anyway, I tried to be cool, didn’t blog or tweet about it, and just suffered silently, but it was well…uh, kind of tough. Anyway, in an effort to not be a total nut job, I started working on something new. And this new story was so cool and fun from the onset, that I almost, almost didn’t have submission on the brain 24/7.
But something happened in these last 20,000 words. Suddenly, my seemingly vibrant and full of life characters became paper cut-outs of themselves. They don’t move or say things as easily as they did before. They’re like blobs. They want to stay home instead of go out and when they do go somewhere, they’re like okay, we’re here, now what? And my plot and conflict and subplot, well the truth is I think I still don’t have a clear vision of what exactly is going on. But of course, being the stubborn person I am, I’ve just kept writing, waiting for something to happen. Except, it seems that for all my effort, I’ve basically been rewarded with 20,000 words of…poop. I know, I know, first drafts are mostly poop, but man…sometimes when you keep coming back to the same poop day after day, well you just can’t stand it anymore. So, I’m in this place where I just hate this manuscript. I don’t get it. I want to trash it. I want to print it out, just to tear it to shreds. I want to tie it down to a track and cackle like an evil mustachioed villain. I want it to grow arms and legs and put it in the stocks for a year. Ugh, yes. It’s that bad.
I’m trying to keep in mind that somewhere in all that…uh, poop, there’s something. I mean, I know these characters have a cool story to tell, I just have to dig it out (yes, I do realize this is pretty gross considering my analogy). Maybe I’m just being lazy, avoiding the hard work because, well, there’s just so much to sift through.
Wait…maybe that’s just it. Here are all these words, all this stuff that I really should organize in order to move forward. Maybe my character are so lifeless because I’ve buried them in all this junk. Maybe my plot and conflict and subplots aren’t coming together because of all the unnecessary things I have going on. But now it’s like trying to organize a hoarder’s house. *gets smacked on the side of the head with an epiphany*
YES! That’s it! Scrap the poop analogy. My WIP is a hoarder’s house and I’m the hoarder. I’ve dumped all this material in one place, without bothering to organize it or separate the good from the bad because that’s mostly how I write. If I start editing too much as I go along, I never get past a certain word count. So I’ve just kept coming back to it, dumping more and more and more. And now, there’s so much stuff, it’s like I can’t even see the floor.
But I guess this mess is part of it, right? I mean, this is everyday writing. Creating this pile of awesomely, messy, terrible writing is part of the process. And coming back to it to clear the mess, throw out the garbage, bring in new, shiny ideas, organize and polish, is part of it, too. So, as much as I hate cleaning, I think just realizing I should stop dumping and start cleaning kind of helps and actually makes me feel a little better.
So what about you? Ever feel like abandoning your WIP and having it condemned? What makes you come back to it even when it’s a hot mess?
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