Saturday, July 24, 2010

ups and downs

Some of you may still be curious about a certain post that I slipped in a week or so ago, discussing some changes. Others may have noticed that the progress bar for my YA Novel project has been suspiciously stagnant recently (and that it has now been reset to zero).  And it is obvious that I haven't been as consistent at getting posts up in the past week as I have been in the past two months.

Yeah. Well, all that can be traced back to one initial fact:

Writing is hard.

Seriously. It can be really hard sometimes. I'm looking back at my original novel, The Rising, and I'm wondering HOW I DID THAT. I mean, really. That thing is huge. And even though most of it sucks, there are some okay parts in there. And I wrote them. So that is good, right? I did all that.  Its something to be proud of, and I'll be honest, I feel pretty fabulous about it.

But, now that I'm trying to do it again, I'm having a hard time of it.

A lot of the difficulty, I think, comes with beginnings in general. The more I write, the more I realize that (at least for me) the hardest part is almost always just getting started--getting the beginning down on paper (or on the hard drive) and then going on from there. When I think back on TR, I sometimes forget how hard the beginning was in lieu of how easily the rest of the thing seemed to flow (which is not to say that the project itself was easy, because I don't think it was, or even that words easily came to my mind to write down every day, because they didn't). But the point is that the beginning of TR was difficult as well. It took me about the same time to write the first fifty pages as it did for me to write the last half of the book. So I'm no stranger to difficult beginnings.  I just think that those difficulties just get lost in the euphoria of what went well--a selective memory as it were.  And, now that I'm trying to get through another project, I'm having a really difficult time of it because I'm only remembering the good parts of my latest writing experience, and none of the bad parts.

Which brings me to my current project.  ORIGINALLY it was supposed to be an experiment in the urban fantasy genre, with "young adults" as the intended audience.  Well . . . to put a long story into a short container, I think that that particular idea just lost its momentum in the past three months.  And, honestly, I'm okay with that.  I think it was a necessary casualty in finishing TR*.  Which is sad in a way, I do think it is a pretty good idea with some potential, but I've concluded that now just isn't the time to write it.

So I've moved on to something else.

It is another YA Novel, of course.  But instead of an urban fantasy, its more of a "straight-up" fantasy.  It takes place in its own world, with its own rules and religions and geographies and peoples and so forth.

Basically, its about heroes.  And prophecies.  And the expectations of the public for said heroes because of said prophecies, and what happens when those expectations aren't fulfilled.  There's also an elitist school, monsters, a quest or two, some really mean kids, and much more.

Thats the basic premise.  And, in case you haven't caught on, that's the big change I was talking about in this post.  (If you're not a writer it may not seem like much of a change, but if you are then perhaps you know how drastic changing ideas mid-project can be.)  And, to be quite honest, I'm much more excited about this idea than I am about the previous one.  The previous one is good, like I said, I do think it has potential, but it just wasn't cutting it right now.  This new idea, I think, will (cut it, that is).

So, what does this mean for my own personal NaNoWriMo that I was so excited about a few weeks ago?  Well, it does mean that there is really no way I'll be able to have my NEW YA NOVEL PROJECT done by the end of July.  Really, there's just no way.

But, starting on Monday**, I'm (hopefully) going to get heavily into the New YA Novel Project.  My hope is to re-start my NaNoWriMo goal, and ideally be finished with the first draft of this project by around this time next month.  I think I just need to press through these beginning parts, do my best and hopefully gain enough momentum to start propelling me the rest of the way.  I really think that this (beginnings) is one of the most difficult things for me when it comes to writing.  I'm always so picky about what I want that I'm never satisfied with what I produce at the start of a project--and unless I push myself onward, I get stuck on those first few chapters, or even paragraphs, for days (or, when its really bad, for weeks).

So, thats whats been happening with my writing lately.  I've been in a bit of a funk, and it hasn't helped that my writing time has been severely diminished in the past few weeks (not necessarily a bad thing, but when it seems to happen too consistently it gets frustrating).  But I'm going to get back into it now.  I'm motivated, I can do it.  I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and doggone it, people like me.

*  For those of you who don't know, I wrote the first two or three chapters of the ORIGINAL YA NOVEL PROJECT back in April sometime, right in the middle of when I was writing TR--then I set it aside and didn't touch it, thinking I would come back to it later this summer.  Well, I did, and things just didn't work out.

**  I've already done a great deal of world-building and character exploration for the new project, as well as something sort of like a first chapter.  But, starting Monday, my plan is to take a serious dive into it, and hopefully not re-emerge until I'm through the "beginning blues" I've been suffering.


  1. Good luck with your new book! It sounds like a good premise. In my first book I finished I fiddled with the prophecy trope a bit too--the people all assumed the main character was prophesied to save their town, but they interpreted the prophecy wrong. =P
    Good luck getting back into the writing groove. It's definitely tough sometimes.

  2. It's interesting that you have trouble getting your work started, but an easier time moving forward with it once that step is completed. I've always had a knack for awe-inspiring openers, but followed these up with completely lame plot developments and rotten-produce-worthy finales. I've been tackling this tendency by writing my stories backwards.

    I guess the opposite might not exactly solve your problems. But I'll tell you what always gets me going when I kick up a tale: two lines of punchy dialogue.

    And then some real punches start flying.

    Keep at 'er,


  3. @ Cholisose: I've generally tried to stay away from prophecy in general in most of my other work, or at least tried to keep it low-key, but in this project I think I'm just going to attack it head-on and see what I can come up with. I'm pretty excited to see how it turns out . . . !

    @ Ben: It's funny to see how different writers can be and still get the job done. We seem to have the opposite problem--i feel that my beginnings are always mediocre at best (and will always require the most attention during the rewrites), while my endings usually turn out (surprisingly) well. Do you outline a lot when writing/preparing a new project or do you discover-as-you-go? I've found that that particular dichotomy of writers seems to influence what problems and difficulties they encounter in the writing process quite a bit.

    And, as simple as your advice (about starting with two lines of dialog) sounds, I think it could help me out quite a bit. One of my biggest problems with beginnings is just the sheer weight of the project, and my worries about how I'm going to portray all of this stuff to the reader. But by starting small (with just two lines of dialog, for instance), things start to seem so much more manageable. So, thanks, I'll give it a try!