How to Write a Novel in Six Months, Week 13 Drafting Update: Writer’s Block
Progress on the novel this week was terrible, awful, and only amounted to about one page of manuscript. What can I say? It must have been writer’s block, or hormones, or the economy. All I know is it all came to a stand still and I seriously considered chucking the whole thing off the hard drive. But I’m feeling better now. Here’s the recap of the week in Novel Writing Land and how I survived.
The Wall of Plot
If there is such a thing as hitting the wall in fiction writing, I experienced that this week. On Monday I started drafting and nothing came out. Story lines seemed contrived and none of my characters would come up with anything clever to say. I started getting that old yucky feeling that writing this novel was yet another exercise in wasting vast amounts of time. Said time surely would have been better spent srubbing toilets or reading fiction far better than my own.
I decided to suspend all drafting. My plan was to fine tune the plot from the quarter way point to the half way point. That is approximately 20 sections, or scenes. This was the plan, but I didn’t really believe I could do it. I was only buying time until Saturday. I had submitted portions of the beginning of the novel to my critique group and expected them to pan my work with enthusiasm. I looked forward to this as the perfect excuse to abandon the project. In anticipation of the dreaded/glorious commentary of my work, I halfheartedly tinkered with the plot. I embraced the Marshall Plan method of hammering out clear goals and motivations for all my characters and sections. (This despite the fact that Mr. Marshall has offered his fancy schmancy software to a friend of mine who mentioned him but once in her blog, while I practially idolize him here.) However, I didn’t get far.
The Will to Continue
Saturday came and with fortifying caffeine in hand, I awaited the barbs of my fellow writers. However, what they threw at me was only more encouragement. Damn them! I came home and finished plotting up through the half way mark. Now maybe I should have learned my lesson by now and continued on to the end, but I just can’t bear it. Not yet. However, today I’ll get back to drafting happy in the knowledge that at least eight other people in the world think my protagonist is likeable and the material is at least moderately humorous. What more could a girl want?
Now that I realize it was Week 13, it all makes sense! I’ve survived and so shall you, should you choose to join me on this perilous adventure of writing a novel!