Friday 31st March 2017
I was having a really hard time plotting out this next chapter this evening and found myself wondering what was going wrong. Usually I’m pretty good at planning chapters out, both thinking about it and then putting it down. But my mind has been blank for a couple of days on what should happen in this next chapter that sees the main character meet a recurring secondary character from the first book and then get discovered.
Then it occurred to me: I’m at that stage of the novel.
Neil Gaiman once said (and I’m paraphrasing here) that he once phoned up his agent about a book he was writing saying it was rubbish, nothing worked, and that he felt he was just a terrible writer. His agent replied, “Oh you’re at that stage of the novel are you?”
“What do you mean?” Neil Gaiman asked
“You’re always like this when you’re at this stage of the novel.”
I’m not sure if everyone suffers from this, or if they suffer at the same points, but a number of writers get to certain points when writing a book and want to throw in the towel. It’s at that stage of the novel that they truly hate it, that words come like treacle and they feel it’s terrible.
For me, that stage is around the act changes, when the beginning becomes the middle, and when the strands get pulled together to head towards the end. At that stage, writing becomes not-fun. The words are slow, I don’t enjoy the writing, I’d sooner do anything other than write.
And so frustrated with the lack of a chapter plan for this upcoming chapter I looked ahead to see where things were headed. Then I realised.
We’re moving into the conclusion. Things are about to get unveiled, discoveries are about to be made. Yep, we’re definitely moving into the final act. And that means the next couple of chapters are going to be pure hell.
That might sound terrible, but honestly, knowing makes it so much easier. If I understand why it’s feeling tough, I feel a lot less frustrated with myself. Instead I just wade through it knowing that sooner or later I’ll get past it and be into the home straight. I still have a go 12 chapters / 50,000 words to do but I should speed up a bit as I near the end.
So in order to plan this chapter, I worked backwards. I asked myself how it needs to end and then worked in reverse from that. It’s a handy little tip if you ever get stuck, and it allowed me to get a rough outline of the chapter.
My only real question is about who makes the discovery and how that fits in with the next couple of chapters. This is a bit like the revelation I had in the current chapter, and how I used it to tie both scenes together.
I still started on it though. Writing the end of the chapter I was currently on and then moving into this new chapter. Only got a thousand words done, but as I said, it’s the treacle stage for a while.
I felt more awake today having had another good night’s sleep. My back was really stiff but eased up as I started moving around. I want to go to the gym tomorrow and I’m wondering if doing a 5k on the treadmill will make it worse or not. I’m also not sure whether there’s sparring this weekend or not. I’m On Call with the day job so I can’t go far.
I came up with a potential Facebook strategy today to grow my likes. I have no idea if it’ll work but it’s worth a try. Facebook is supposed to be used more at weekends so tomorrow seems like the perfect time to trial it. As I always say, you never know until you experiment with these things.
I’ve also started putting together my ToDo list of marketing activities. I’d like to cross most of these off over the weekend which is likely to be a marketing intensive couple of days. It feels like it’s worked out to be the perfect time given the writing is feeling a little slow. My plan is to constantly switch between the two (complete 1 task, do 30 mins of writing). Hopefully that should see me be super productive.
On top of that, I have a Swindon writers meeting I have to decide whether I want to go into town for. Plus, I plan to start filming for the Vlog tomorrow.
Looks like tomorrow could be really busy, which probably means I’ll just procrastinate for most of the day.
If you want to follow more of my journey, then be sure to check me on my social channels. Likewise, if you’d like me to expand on any point mentioned above, please say so in the comments.
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