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Hurdles and Brick Walls #AmWriting

There comes a point in every book, at least for me, where I run into a brick wall.

Like, from writing smoothly to dead stop.

Sometimes it’s the dreaded (and ambiguous) writer’s block, but more often than not, for me, it’s the sagging middle syndrome.

I only do a brief, skimpy outline. I have to have it, but I don’t like to get super detailed, and it’s never set in concrete. Which means that by the time I reach the 50-60% mark of the book, I find I’ve deviated so much, I need to re-track and see exactly how I want to get to the end (which usually writes itself for me).

This time, though, I’m at the 75% mark–which is usually where I can see the light at the end of the tunnel and the writing flows. Ya know, climatic fight scenes and resolution of the characters.

I couldn’t believe it.

I thought I’d skipped the wall this time.

Needless to say, my weekend plans of sprinting and *hoping* if not to finish the book, then to actually be damn close, went up in smoke.

It took me a read through of what I’ve written so far, and two days of muttering, wandering aimlessly, and trying to chisel brick, but I finally figured it out.

The pacing is off. My characters are doing things way too fast.

Which means, I need to go back and add quite a few scenes in what I have written.

And that means, yup, I am really only about 50% of the way through the book.

The brick wall hit at the right time, it just seemed wrong because I thought I was closer to the finish line than I truly am.

But at least now, that brick wall is a lot shorter. Short enough for me to jump over it : )

Starting Over & Refreshing the Well

Free Well In Monastery Stock Images - 2986804So I’ve decided I needed to take a break from writing my Heart of a Vampire Series for now, let the creative juices get back to flowing.

What does a writer do when their current series just isn’t working for them at the moment?

I decided to go back and relook at some of the novels/stories/beginnings/and so forth that I have worked on in the past.

My Angels (the book of my heart) just wasn’t calling to me either. So I continued to search.

And finally found my Ah-Ha.

The hardest part about doing this is that as writers, we grow over time. Looking at a book I wrote two years ago had me shaking my head, snorting in disbelief, laughing at myself, and suddenly resiting the urge to drown my sorrows in a *good* book, LOL.

Guess it’s a good thing I still love the story. But it does mean I’ll be starting over. Taking the basic idea, reworking and rewriting.

Hopefully I’ll have it done by the time Eerie comes out of hiding, he’s been threatening to steal my whips if I don’t get back to blogging and writing 🙂

Perfection is so hard to acheive…

The other day our highly intelligent and quite demanding Snarky Dwarf sent me a link to a blog post. 

http://kriswrites.com/2012/06/27/the-business-rusch-perfection/

Here’s the thing, this post was just what I needed to read at this particular moment. With two books out there, and working on a third, I’m starting to recognize that there are a couple of stages in the writing game every writer goes through.  The first one comes after you begin to fall from that high of being published and seeing your first work out there–all alone in the big bad world of readers, where it can be raised up and kicked down faster than lightning.  You try not to get obsessive about the reviews, feedback and those pesky things known as ratings, but those little voices manage to wiggle their way in and tear bits and pieces off of your creativity.  Together those small things gain strength, and so the debilitating question looms on your writing horizon—can I really manage to write another book?

Answer: Hell, yeah you can.  You’re a writer, stop worrying about what’s being said out there.  You’re out there. Readers are reading you. You have to be doing something right. So in a truly horribly NY/Bronx accent “Forget about it!” and write your story.  Take the things you’ve learned with your first book, do them better or fix them in your second.

Once I made it through and got the second book done, it was time to tackle the third.  This was hard because I was leaving behind the familiarity of Raine and Gavin to focus on another character, Xander.  Granted she has some of the same things that makes Raine, well Raine, but she uniquely herself.  It took me longer than expected to get Xander and Warrick’s story off the ground.  Now that I’m about 100 pages in, it’s starting to come together…bit by bit. 

Yet while I’m crafting this story, I’m still getting feedback on Shadow’s Edge and Shadow’s Soul.  I know you’ll never please all your readers all of the time, but it is so easy to fall into the downward spiral of  “OMG, I need to change this…” or “Maybe I should do this instead…” Second guessing ourselves is not productive, not even a little bit.

Reading Kris’s post as she discusses when is your book truly done…I so needed to hear her when she said,

“I’m here to tell you this: If you want a career as a writer, ignore your critics.

When the book is finished, when the book is published for heaven’s sake, then it’s done. Irrevocably done. Mistakes and all.”

So now, I make it a point not to obsess over rankings or critiques–readers will either love it or hate it, it’s out there, I’m not changing it.  For now, all I can do as a writer, is take what I’ve learned, and use it for Shadow’s Moon.  And the mistakes I make in that story, I’ll just use those to make the next one even better. 

I’m a writer, but I won’t be much of one if I don’t learn and grow from my screw-ups.  Besides, who knows, maybe one of those screw-ups will turn into a flash of genius!

The BLOCK

I’m still trying to figure this one out. With my stories, I usually have multiple projects in different stages of completion. So, if I get stuck on one, I can move to another until the muse breaks through, then go back.

The problem is, I’m stubborn.

I don’t like giving up. If I’m working on something, then I damn well want to get it done.

So how do I figure things out?

Well, I’ve heard of people who take a walk, watch a movie, or even do chores to try getting the juices flowing. For me, sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t.

It can help to talk things out with my writer peeps, or even my husband. He’s great at throwing out ideas that sometimes work, mostly don’t, but it gets the creativity flowing and my mind jumps to 10 things that will.

Sometimes, just the talking out loud breaks the block.

I outline basic scenes and chapters, one to two liners of “This happens, then this…” Sometimes, I can go back to the outline and it will spark the creativity.

The cranky thing is that what works on one problem probably won’t work the next time.

Sometimes the muse sucks.

But, the one thing I have always found-

If I try, try, try, and never give up, eventually, I’ll find my way back to the one some call the ‘capricious bitch’, and we’ll argue and wrestle until we’re once more in accord.

Tell me, what do you do when you get stuck?

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