Sunday, December 4, 2016

Back Up, Start Over

When I last wrote about my novel writing venture in November, things were going splendidly. I had completed Part One of the current novel and had entered into the waters of Part Two. I had met the Nanowrimo goal of 50,000 words for the one month time period. Everything was swimming along.

Then came Thanksgiving. I'm sure there are a myriad of reasons why a holiday can throw your writing mojo into the gutter. I wasn't even responsible for the meal, thanks to my hubby's willingness to do the cooking. I feel like I have no excuse, yet the writing started to creep along at a horrifying pace. First, I stopped meeting my 2000 word-a-day goal. Then, during the height of the holiday, I had four different zero word days (groan). Over the last two weeks, I've only squeaked out 14,576 words.

Even more concerning, it just felt like the second portion of the novel wasn't clear in my mind. The characters felt wrong. The agent for resolution was too complicated (led into territory where I couldn't really research the answers to questions on-line but would need more specialized knowledge). It makes sense that the first half was the easier section to write. It is far more challenging to write healing than it is to bleed pain onto the page. Still, I was growing quite disillusioned. I spent inordinate amounts of time researching location and setting details and while those are important, they were getting in the way of real writing.

Then, yesterday morning, as I was mulling over the difficulties again, I had a revelation of sorts. I had always envisioned the key secondary character in Part Two as a young girl named Dakota. When she appeared at all (and I wasn't seeing her very clearly), she had a widowed father in her life and the parent was getting in the way. As I thought about it more, I realized that perhaps she is not a young girl, but is rather a teenage runaway, named Savannah, that the main character believes to be a neighbor. This scenario provides its own challenges and again, I may be in over my head. But, even though I'm still a bit hazy on the details, I'm pretty sure that I need to back up and start over. I plan to scrap almost all of the work done in the past two weeks and begin again on Monday (when I can focus clearly on the writing without boys underfoot), rewriting Part Two.

If there is any consolation in all of this, it is that I am very pleased with the first half of the novel. It has set the stage for the second half quite well and established character, dilemma, conflict, and an even story arc. Sadly, the days are growing colder and my morning walks have become more difficult to accomplish. I work best when I have that time to ponder the characters and their individual needs. Plus, I use that time to pray and offer up my minimal talents to be used as the Lord sees fit (praying that He would multiply my loaves and fishes). So, as I plow into December and a new start to the second half of my novel, I'm hoping for two solid weeks of intense focus and productivity while the boys finish up their last full weeks of school before the winter break arrives. Goodbye Dakota. Hello Savannah.

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