{February 25, 2012}   A Writer’s Mood Swings

“I’m never going to finish this book! There are too many things I don’t know about and I can’t find the answers. My characters are one-dimensional. It was a stupid, stupid idea!”

The next day, read the novel: “This is pretty good. I like these characters. I can see what drives them and their conflict.  All I have to do is figure out a few things and write them into the story.”

The next several days: put off writing by doing all kinds of tasks to reorganize book. Do research on the Internet, rewrite half-assed outline, come up with yet another writing/revision schedule, import document into a software program so I can move scenes around, print out what I’ve written because I decide I want to read it on paper and jot notes. In other words, deluding myself to think I’m writing my book when there is actually no writing involved.

Several more days: procrastinate by working on unappealing tasks–even taxes–to avoid tackling problems in my book.

Get bummed out because I’ve been working on this book for what seems like forever and see no end in sight. Why did I become a writer anyway? Why do I seek out impersonal rejection on a regular basis by people (agents and editors) who I’ve never met?

Find a note from a reader who says they couldn’t put down one of my books and stayed up all night. Remember that I’ve loved writing since sixth grade and took on that role in every job I’ve had. Recall authors speaking at conferences who’ve felt the same way I do in this isolating field. Look at how much I’ve written so far instead of what’s left to go. Remember the way I’ve finished previous books is to get on a routine and have a clear deadline ahead.

Get over the self-doubting, suck it up, and bring my netbook to a cafe without Wifi. I have to resist the frequent temptation of looking something up on the Internet and straying off track. Write a few good pages and get excited about the book again.

Repeat all of the above multiple times.

Does any of this sound familiar to you?


{February 12, 2012}   Writing Conferences

I just came back from a day long event in Boston — The Mystery Writers of America held several courses at the Sheraton. If you’re interested in writing mysteries, I encourage you to attend events like this. MWA and Sisters in Crime have fantastic speakers come to speak on a variety of topics on writing. Their annual Crimebake conference in November is now a must-attend event for me. I also attend conferences held by the Romance Writers of America and the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI). Every time I attend a writers conference, I come back full of ideas and inspiration.

In a mystery I’ve been working on since Nanowrimo 2010, I’m stuck in the middle chapters. The beginning and ending are written; it’s the unfolding of events in the middle that’s giving me a hard time. So sometime this week, I decided the voice was wrong. I needed to change it from third person to first and started rewriting the 50,000 plus words I already have down. Yikes!

During one of the speakers presentations, she mentioned how you as a writer will come across obstacles like this and want to rewrite your book changing something major. I am so glad she made me stop and think about this. When I went back to my mystery this morning, I realized what an impact it would have on the book to change the POV. Yes, it would have the better identification through a first-person narrative, but it would lose much of the bigger picture. In essence, it would be a completely different story. So I’m stopping myself.

It’s very reassuring to know you’re not alone when you hit a roadblock in your novel. And I guess the main point is to keep moving forward. Good luck!

et cetera