I am seriously behind in regards to working on the revisions of my upcoming novel: Silenced Memories. I received the feedback from my developmental editor at the end of May, but with a two week trip out of the country and some readjustment once back, I am lagging behind on my self-imposed schedule.
But, my goal is to have my novel sent back to my editor by June 30th. Yesterday I found myself working on deleting a scene and trying to add a new one in the middle of pre-existing chapters and began to struggle. The first half of my novel only required a little cosmetic surgery, but with the suggestion of a plot change by my editor, the second half of my book needed full blown plastic surgery. Working around text I am keeping while adding new scenes can be a bit daunting. I started to feel like I was swimming in the dark yesterday with no lights on. Occasionally a light in the pool would flicker for a moment, and I would get a brief glimpse of what I was doing—but I was soon fast in the dark again.
I think it is actually easier to swim in the dark than to write without knowing where you are going. Don’t get me wrong, I typed out a four-page plot outline of the revisions for my novel, but I was not sure about all of the details. I didn’t know the “Why’s” to what my character(s) were doing in regards to the new plot change. Without knowing that, it is even worse than swimming without the lights on. I used to be someone who could muck through it and figure it out as I went, but I never really had ultimate success with that method (never finished a book that way).
So, I stopped writing. I put down my laptop and pulled out my notepad and stared down at the blank page in front of me, pen in hand. Sometimes my best ideas come from using ink and paper. After writing pages and pages of notes and ideas, I worked through the problems that had been bogging me down (causing my typing to slow to a snail’s pace the day before). I have some new twists and turns that even I didn’t anticipate – I am super excited about the changes, and I can’t wait to churn out my new ideas in the novel.
I know some writers face this challenge. I have heard of writers using index cards to help them figure out the sequence and plot—and I might have done that if I had some on hand! What do you do when you get stuck? Are you able to keep writing without knowing all of the details? I don’t need to know every little thing (even when I do—the story still takes some unexpected turns, especially with dialogue), but I am such a planner now, that I can’t keep my story flowing without knowing the answers to all my questions. If I don’t know the answers, how will I plant clues (romance suspense novel) for the readers?
Well, I should probably get back to writing, because I have my deadline of June 30th to meet! Please share your advice/tips! Thanks for the input!
I totally get it. As the creators of our fictional universe, if we’re not 100% solid on the why’s, we’re screwed. I hope you can “turn those lights back on” soon. By the way, photo you chose for this blog post is stunning.
Every writer works differently. I can’t do outlines because I find that restricting. I follow the words of Ray Bradbury. He trusted his characters to figure it out. Before I started writing I thought that was a bit pretentious. But now I get it; I understand. The characters actions and dialogue surprise even me, but they do sweep me along what turns out to be a logical path to the end. For me it is more fun.
That is great–wish I didn’t have to be such a planner 🙂
As a panster when I started, I am now trying to outline using Larry Brooks, Story Engineering and SCrivener.. I too, love Charlotte. My daughter lived ther for more than 3 years. It’s wonderful meeting other Southern authors.
Thank yo for stopping by the Cow Pasture. I’m so happy you liked it well enough to jump the fence. Welcome.
Thanks for the comment! Where down South do you live?