“Perhaps you should forget about ____ all together?” -Bestie says cautiously over the phone
to which I responded:
And I sat there, as she went on and on over the phone about the possibilities that could happen instead…and I continued…in silence…biting the tip of my thumb nail, remembering the breathe.
The thoughts going through my head?
“So…what she’s saying is–my story is not working as is. It isn’t, I have to admit. I can’t figure out how to end it. Every possible scenario we throw at the dang story, spits back a ‘Negative Captain’ at me. But…but…I was almost done with my story. I was practically finished with the first draft. I was starting the 2nd draft–changed the first chapter–we had a FLOW going on here…and..and now…what she is suggesting…is…Start. From. Scratch. All. Over. Again…Write. A. New. Completely. Different. Story…”
Happy Monday everyone! Happy Veteran’s Day! Happy Day-Off Day! Happy Grateful to Our Men & Woman Serving America!
So how are you? *she sings*
Me? Oh, I’m perfectly fine *eye twitches*
No really! I’m great, just pushing forward, positive Patty, life has been great *pushes noose out of sight*
Remember when I mentioned my going to Writer’s Critique Group, reading my pages for the first time, I read them the first chapter of my first draft? No? You didn’t read it? Oh, you’re new? WELCOME!
Anyway, I took two days to process everything they suggested which in fact, was valid. The one thing I felt I needed to fight for, though they HIGHLY discouraged it, was my having 2 POV’s in my story. I vented and bounced ideas off of my best friend in Missouri. One night, I sat my aunt fanny (my buttocks) on the chair and began typing, rewriting, revising, rearranging and came up with a brand new 1st chapter. The first half of the new first chapter, I had to admit, was pretty good. I really liked how it came out. I had action now, I had the inciting incident in the beginning. (What’s that? Don’t be ashamed about not knowing…I didn’t know what it was. Oh Google–you drive me insane all the time, trying to know my private life and whereabouts and all, but man, I’m grateful you exist *wink*)
An inciting incident is an essential plot element in a work of fiction, where an event is struck upon the protagonist(s) where their life changes from the norm to adapt to the story’s plot. It could be as simple as meeting someone new in a romantic comedy, or as complicated as witnessing a murder.
The second half of the new and shorter chapter one, I was satisfied with it. My instinct deep down was telling me it wasn’t satisfactory but I punched it (my instinct), knocking it out, and stuffed it under my bed to shut up because, let’s be honest…I was wounded. I was sensitive about my story that I’ve been working months on. Then I called the bestie–the best beta reading critique partner ever! So grateful for her, especially during this process. (shoutout: Love you Therlee) She LOVED the first half.
“YAY” *high five myself*
Then I heard the hesitation in her voice, and since I know her well, I braced myself. She was about to solidify that instinct voice I punched out and stuffed away. I felt that instinct voice…hmm…let’s name her…Penelope. (She looks a bit librarian-ish with big circle glasses). Anyway, I felt Penelope creeping up behind me, about to pounce, yelling
“Ha! I was RIGHT!”
Heather (the bestie) mentioned the last half not working, to which I sighed and hung my head…knowing she was right. But I didn’t know how else to approach introducing certain characters I felt necessary or the background information, I believe was needed to set up the story. I felt discouraged. So we talked and talked for I think it was an hour.
We discussed the story. I discussed my insecurities and in the end, I finally blurted out–how out of everything in the story, there were three elements I feel passionate about. One being the premise the idea and story came from in the very beginning, to which she then…DROPPED THE BOMB.
I’m paraphrasing because to be honest, I was in shell shock. I probably can’t remember the exact words she used since I was not fully there after she said them. And to this; we reference the gif’s above…
“Well then…what if you take out _____(which is what I based the entire first book around. The conflicting worlds, this world was one of them, and a vital part to my Main Character. The title of the first book for goodness sake was the name of this world I created, in order to present conflict to the other world which began as the premise of the story.) take out _____ all together?”
she cautiously continues, gently, elaborating.
“Maybe you should just stick to this one world, and that’s it”
she says and I’m freaking out in silence. She can’t see my face but she knows me even through the phone. I’m thinking at this point…”But then…that means…changing…EVERYTHING…the story I’m almost finished writing. I have months of research and images for inspiration…all of it…Trash Bin?”
She continued, trying to encourage me and give me other options. I kept saying “Uh-huh” dryly, over and over.
Nothing she was saying to me created that…you know…I mentioned it back in the day (I believe it was the post “Plot Twist! Writing a Book“) that…SPARK. The baby cupid of writing, shooting that arrow in your butt moment, where a story blooms in your mind. Nothing. I was getting nothing. I was panicking. I’ve heard of authors writing 2, 3, 7 Drafts before getting the final product of their story. I understood things would change, rearrange, etc…I just did not foresee this…Changing the Story Entirely.
I worried about ever getting a new story. I worried about saying goodbye to these people in my head I’ve grown to love. The scenes I wrote. Many scenes that I loved, now gone. Tossed into a pile of deleted scenes no one will ever see or know about. My heart broke a little.
Right when we were about to hang up, she said something. My ears perked like an animal and I got up to pace a bit. My “uh-huh”‘s were less dry. I started contributing scenario ideas. EU-freaking-REKA! The SPARK!
Oh thank GOD! I was beginning to worry and panic. Ok…I was already worrying and panicking.
I sat down and wrote out a brief synopsis idea, went to bed, slept on it and woke the next morning with a new world moving into my brain. I mean, they had full on mover’s and a moving truck, parade of people and all.
I spent the next day researching 9 hours in front of my IPad, other author’s drafting process. God bless Jodi Meadows, author of Incarnate series. She has an amazing blog series of posts about her writing process, drafting her second and third book of her now trilogy. The third book is due January *skips around–happy dance*
If you are writing a book and are like me; completely ignorant to the rules of this industry. If you have ideas bursting and don’t know how to plan or organize them before or during the writing process, I HIGHLY recommend you spending a day just reading ALL of these posts about her advice to writers…click….HERE
Life saver, my friends. I was determined to approach this new story premise and draft completely differently. I would know the ending and the entire idea, before tackling the first chapter. I spend the next two days, between research and outlining, looking like this:
I spent all of yesterday world-building, character profiling, writing out the premise, then a beginning synopsis–it all started coming together! I got really excited when I was able to do something I previously couldn’t with my first drafted story. Jodi says she would have herself write a “query letter style blurb” to help her put focus to the central theme, conflict of the story before writing it. I thought, “Hm. I like it. Let’s try it.” When it came to me and was approved by two critique partners…Heck to the yeah! I was excited again.
In the end, go figure, many ideas and characters I had in my first draft, were still relevant to the new story. It wasn’t all a waste. My two main characters, that I love dearly, are still my MC’s. Now, my critique group will be happy to know that my story went from two POV’s to one. This new story can be effectively told just through my female MC’s POV. My previous story was big and complex (hence it was going to be a trilogy) to tell it through one person’s view from only one of the two complex worlds. Now, the story may even just be a stand-alone.
This writing a book journey is definitely an emotional one. You’re giving of yourself, completely to something. It’s all you, there’s no hiding behind let’s say as an Actor, you can say “Uh, well…the script sucked. Not my fault?” Here, it’s ALL you. It’s vulnerable. It’s personal. And I love it and wouldn’t change a thing. *smiles*
Again, if you’re writing a fiction story; especially if it’s not a contemporary story, check out Jodi Meadow’s posts on drafting from the “idea seed” as she called it, to writing the first chapter, and everything in between.
If you too have had to toss out an ENTIRE manuscript draft, you spent a long time creating, don’t be discouraged. This was the best decision I could have made. It hurt like hell but my story is a better story so far, because of it. It has a tighter construction than before. It has a possible, or even a few possible endings now.
Enjoy your writing process folks! I’m there with ya. Thanks for reading my crazy ramble on tossing out my “practically-completed-67,000-word-draft-only-to-start-all-over-from-almost-scratch” story. The point is, don’t quit!
You get up, dust yourself off, swallow your pride and get back to writing! Don’t give up, I keep reminding myself. I need to…every day! So now I’m telling you…
“Dont give up!”
Time is a tricky tricky thing that will sneak up on you very quickly. Don’t give up or procrastinate. Time is going to keep moving, with or without you. Take advantage and make things happen! You can only control in this life, your part of things. Do your part, and regret nothing!
Happy Writing and Reading and Living Life everyone!