Sunday, January 21, 2007

Having a Terrible Time, Wish You Were Here

Anyone, that is, who could save me.  I’ve hit the wall.  Really. I decided I was going to toss the book.  First Reader said not before I read it.
So FR read it.  She didn't give me the reaction I wanted which was, "You can't toss this.  It has the makings of a good book.  You have to do X,Y,Z and then this is how you'll get them down that slope to the conclusion."
She liked a lot of it and said I had hard work to do.  Way too many characters, which I knew.  And she had no idea how to get to and write the 2nd act.  She had some ideas on what I should do with what I have.  But I had to coax the words "Don't toss it" out of her.  And they weren't quite those words.  I've blocked what they actually were but they meant the same thing. Grudgingly.
I've often had false starts and given up, but I've never had over 200 pages and quit.  I've always said this was the kind of crime novel I couldn't write and it seems that it's true.  But I don't want it to be true. I'm so depressed about it.  I know I could take the things FR told me and rework everything but then I'll eventually get to the same place.  I think.  FR doesn't think so.  She thinks if do some of the stuff she suggested it'll give me ideas on how to go on and resolve the sucker.  Maybe so.
Why not?  I don't have an idea for another book and can't imagine starting something else even if I did.  I don't have that secret novel I've always wanted to write. 
I guess there's an option to stop all together.  But that's a false option.  I might be able to do that for a week or two, but then I'd want to write something and I still might not have an idea and blah, blah, blah.
All the options are lousy.  Tomorrow looms.  What will I do?  I have to take some action.  I guess I'll get out those 4x5 cards that Martha O'Connor suggested awhile back and start putting the names and alliances on them, then tack them to my bulletin board.  I haven't had to do this for 30 years.  And that was with Some Unknown Person.  Come to think of it that had a cast of thousands.  But I always knew where that was going and didn't have trouble getting there.
I think I have to give it one more try. 
And please don’t tell me I should’ve outlined.


lori hahn said...

As a reader, I hope you work this out--sometimes you do have to throw the baby out with the bathwater though. Thinking good thoughts for you.

P. Abbott said...

Maybe SR will give you more positive feedback. It may be worth it before you start to rip it apart.

oncRN said...

wish i was there, too. i'd keep your baby and your bathwater, if i were you. i'd just take a break - read, see movies, do a few days of things that inspire you or at least make you happy. i don't see any point of making yourself sit in front of it when it's this painful.

Sandra Scoppettone said...

P. Abbott - does SR mean Second Reader? If it does I don't have one and don't want one. Too confusing.

Chaser said...

As a devout and obsessive outliner, I don't know why people argue that getting stuck at points wouldn't happen if you had an outline. If you had an outline, you'd just get stuck at a different point in time. Or at least i would--I frequently get stuck for days or even weeks at a time when I am putting together an outline. Yes, when the outline is done, I know what I am doing, but it's not like an outline prevents you have having these points where you don't know what you want to do just yet. It's not magic--you still have to make these choices and if you are not ready to make them, you're not ready.

Kay Sexton said...

Ouch! I hope you can work through it, but it must be a painful place to be. Maybe those horrible cards (I hate them too) will show some directions ...?