Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Pulling teeth...

I know it's cliched, but writing at the moment is like pulling teeth. Excrutiatingly painful... only difference is I guess, I have no desire to have my pearly whites evicted from my mouth but I have a real desire to get the words down on the page just right. 

I've hit the very middle of WWMM and where I can usually knock out 1000 words (ones I'm reasonably happy with) in an hour, I'm struggling to make 100. And, I'm really questioning their quality. I'm trying to remember Nora Roberts mantra, ''You can correct a bad page, but... you can't correct a blank one!'' But it's tough. I want them all to be perfect first time round. :) 

I'm not sure if my bump in the mss is due to the fact:
a) I've been away from it for such a long time or
b) I'm just not good at writing middles or 
c) I so want this mss to be the one that hits the mark that I'm losing it.

To be honest, I find the middle section of a novel the worst part. Beginnings are easy for me (as I know they are for many others) and the endings aren't too horrendous either, but middles always drag me down. I always go through a period of self-doubt somewhere between 20000 and 40000 words. There's so much I want to put in there, so much emotion I want to get across, but it never seems to come out on the page the way I want it.

So... anyone else in the same predicament? Have you any tips for getting through it? What parts of the novel do you find the hardest?? 


Caitlyn Nicholas said...

Aw Rach, I am so there. Am having a total meltdown about my latest book and am going around and around in circles. Yesterday I decided to scrap the whole thing, but today I think its just fine. I think we've both got a bad case of mid-novel slump.
I've tried taking some time away from the book, which has helped a bit. But reallly, other than forgetting about writing and becoming something sensible like a cross-stitcher or a knitter or a crocheter, I'm not sure there is a cure.
My hubby says that all this agonising is just our way of writing the best book we can. If we didn't have doubts and slumps and tear out our hair then our writing wouldn't be half as good.
Bless him!

Rachael Johns said...

Oh Cait... yes, bless your gorgeous husband and let's pray he's right!!

Hope you get through it and so do I and we both become bestsellers to prove it!


Eleni Konstantine said...

Doesn't matter if it's cliche, Rach! It's just what if feels like at times. I'm a pantser, which has it's good and bad bits.... sometimes going from one scene to another can be painful because I have no idea where the story is going. But a little time away seems to work with me.... mostly *g*
Good luck with the mid-novel slump!
E :)

Christina Phillips said...

Rach, I find the middles sooo difficult. I've just hit the middle in my wip and keep thinking... what am I doing... where are these people going... maybe I should just kill a couple of minor characters off?

In the end all I do is keep slogging on - I'm another fan of the Nora's quote!! Can always edit the poop out later. Good luck getting over your slump quickly!

Sami Lee said...

The only hard part of writing a novel is the bit between the words Chapter One and The End. I so know what you're going through. The only way I know to get through it is to keep writing until something clicks and starts to feel right again. Some good advice I've been acting on lately is to skip a scene that's giving you difficulty and write something that seems clearer to you, even if it's the ending. You can always go back and fill in the gaps. Forget chronological writing and go for broke.