Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Back at it!

First and foremost, I am not dead. Whoo-hoo!
I know I haven't posted in like two months, and I am so sorry. After binge-writing my book in March, I went on to start editing and quickly lost all motivation. The mere thought of writing just made me tired, and it's been awful.
But now I'm back (hoping to be, at least.) I had most of last week off of work, and it was a pretty great opportunity to relax, but also get myself back on track. As I said before, for the past few weeks even the mere thought of my book has made me absolutely exhausted. This is because I did a read-through of my whole manuscript and quickly learned that the draft does not flow very well. At all. Every writer's favorite discovery!
Naturally, I went through my outline and started rearranging things and adding more potential chapters. In the end, I found myself needing to add-in/rewrite about seven new chapters. And I don't know why, but I just couldn't do it.
Every word felt slow, every line of dialogue felt cheesy, and every scene seemed disconnected and wrong. My characters felt like a bunch of individually-developed nobodies all stuffed together in a scene, and nothing at all felt natural or good. It was so, so frustrating, and it made me want to shut my laptop and never open it again!
And honestly, that's just about what I did. I opened my document, typed a little, then closed it again. I started a bunch of different blog posts but never posted any of them. I tried plotting ideas for one of my other novel ideas, but even that didn't help.
After a few weeks of being completely fed up with myself, I realized the root of my problem: I felt extremely disconnected from my story and my characters. I didn't know who was supposed to be thinking and feeling what and when. I didn't know where the plot was going, how my writing was supposed to be sounding, or how to connect all the jumbled pieces of my story.
And do you know what the best remedy for a jumbled story is? Starting over.
No--I don't mean trash your whole book and restart. Although in some cases that's necessary, I had already done that. (And trust me--you'll know deep down if a complete restart is necessary.) But in most cases, the trick is to go back to chapter one. This is the birthplace of your story. The hook. The beginning of it all. When you're disconnected from your story and characters, go back to the beginning!
I was hesitant to do this at first because I've revisited my first chapter what feels like hundreds (maybe even thousands) of times. But, I did it again--and I do not regret it. After being in the middle of my story for so long, the beginning was like a breath of fresh air. Mistakes popped out at me with ease, and I nearly rewrote all of the dialogue between my two main characters (which desperately needed to be done!) In fact, I've spent nearly three days just focusing on my first chapter again and making it exactly how I want it to be, and doing so helped me discover a new way to approach my book.
This new version of Unperfected is told from two points of view--Avalon and Tripp--with their POVs alternating every chapter. My usual way of editing is to go through my book chapter-by-chapter, only now that each chapter is a different POV, I've found this to be very problematic. I would start by editing everything very well in Av's head; everything would be smooth and connected and well-written. But as I moved onto chapter two, which is in Tripp's POV, everything would be different. The voice, the mood, the opinions--everything. And while this is perfectly fine and even really good from a reading standpoint, from an editing standpoint, it's jarring. It made me disconnect from Avalon, and by the time I would get back to her head in chapter three, I was fully immersed in Tripp's head and would need to reread chapter one to get back in Av's head. And as you can probably guess, by the time I'd get to the middle of the book, I would just feel completely disconnected from the entire story. It has been beyond frustrating!
And so, I'm going to attempt to go through my book POV by POV rather than chapter by chapter. Meaning, I'm going to go through all of Avalon's chapters and make edits and rewrites there, and then go back and do the same to all of Tripp's chapters. I'm hoping that staying in one head consistently will help connect my characters and the story more, and will help me feel less disconnected!
I'm very eager to get back into my story since it's been so long, and I'm hoping that this will motivate me to keep up with the blog, as well, since I've totally one hundred percent abandoned it lately. Again, I'm so sorry.
Lack of motivation comes in all forms, and unfortunately for me, I tend to abandon all of my writing endeavors when I get frustrated. Hopefully this change of method will be just what I need!
I'm also slowly responding to comments and messages, for those who have asked me questions lately, I will try to respond ASAP! Until then, happy writing!