On Storytelling, or, Pay Attention Already, you stubborn git.

(Wherein the stubborn git is myself and no one else)

I’ve been sitting at (I thought) chapter 6 on the current WiP since January or February. The goal was to have the whole thing completely finished by March. I’m halfway there, and I love everything about this world, but I haven’t touched it since February at the latest, and in the convening months I’ve started to dread getting back to it. It’s become this huge weight, and this has as much to do with the magic of storytelling as the technical aspects of story telling, which is why it gets to go here. It deal with the spirit of storytelling, the drive, the desire to keep going, and how I keep tricking myself into losing it.

First things first, I do not have 6 chapters done. I have 7 kick-ass chapters and a good portion of 8 finished. The outline has this wrapped up in 14. It’s important for me to be able to say to my internal nay-sayer that I am able to say, “No, I’m MORE than halfway there, neener, now shut up, you liar!”

Secondly though, and more to the point, when I reach that far into a story and the desire to cease writing comes upon me, I really need to pay attention to what that says about where the story is going.

Yes, it’s historically been common for me to go two, three, five, even seven months between serious writing jags. But that hasn’t been true in years, and more to the point, I don’t want it to be true ever again. I’ve word hard to not require that much down time anymore, and I have too many things to write to be able to afford it again. Granted, much of that time I was in some serious pain, but ideally that should slow me down, not cut me off entirely.

I reread my material this week, and I considered the next few chapters I have outlined, and I realized they were wrong. They didn’t fit the characters, or the story, and I didn’t want to write them. My MCs are going  through some angst, but I tossed in a big misunderstanding that would drive a wedge between them that they would have to work to overcome, and I realized that that was wrong for them. Obviously I still need to torture the heck out of them, but I need to do it in a different way.

This reminds me, too, that my typical modus operandi with writing longer fiction is: write the bulk of it. Watch the second half fall apart. Re-write the second half from scratch. I don’t mind, because that’s how it works for me, but I thought with using an outline and plotting out each chapter before I write it that I would not be losing time to this method anymore. Instead, maybe not. Which, fine, whatever.

What I want to take from this is the knowledge that, if I find myself not wanting to write, something is wrong. Either I’m tired, I’m sick, I need mental refueling and rest, or something isn’t right with the story. Going forward I think I’ll give myself two weeks tops to see if it’s about being sick or tired or refueling, and then I need to seriously consider where the story is going. Stories make me excited; I love telling them because I love getting to know about them. Poor Roern and Charlie. They fought my destroying their budding relationship as best they could. They don’t get this particular angst, I need to save that for book two . . . .

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