12 January 2012

Pushing Through

Image: Salvatore Vuono / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
So... long time, no blog. What with working through, and spending the statutory holidays with family or spring-cleaning, there hasn't been much writing going on either. But those excuses aren't really true. What I am experiencing amounts to a serious case of...


There, I admitted it.

Generally I've had no problem filling a first draft with potential scenes. I get almost to the goal word count, then have to fill in some stuff, which gets me past the word count, and then I trim some stuff.

This time it's different. My muse left the building sometime around November 25th, and it hasn't come back, except for a few small spurts. I'm writing a historical romance. I have the romantic plot down, basically. But my characters don't exist in a vacuum, and their world needs serious fleshing out. This is not supposed to be a category romance. I already have one sub-plot which seriously impacts the main one, but I was hoping for another (which will mainly affect my hero's journey). I know what type of thing I want it to be, but I don't know what it is. I have spent many hours wracking my brain. I have expected solutions to start dropping in my head the way they usually do (i.e. when I'm not at my computer), but nothing.

My brain has also been crammed full of travel research and planning, as we are off on a big trip in just over six weeks. That's real life - it must take priority. The fantasy world seems to have fallen off the margins of my brain.

This is why I only have 46,000 words, when I had intended to have 60,000 by the end of 2011. I am still striving to finish the first draft before we leave for our trip at the end of February. That's 5,000/week, including this one.

And how do I plan to get there? Purely by writing something... anything. I finished NaNo with just over 40k, and I have inched my way up to 46k a few hundred words at a time - fleshing out existing scenes, adding bits and pieces and occasionally thinking of whole new scenes. There are a couple of scenes I have scant notes for that I can expand on, but beyond that, it's all unknown territory.

I have to have faith in the process. Even just by working through some early scenes where we meet key minor characters, I have learned more about these people and gained some inklings as to what role they could play. No major insights yet, but I just have to keep going, keep pushing, until I can literally not squeeze out any more words.

I could just give up, but that would be heart-breaking. I know I've only devoted a few months to writing this project, but it's been an idea in some form for years, and I just adore some of the scenes I've written. Plus I think the hero and heroine I've created are pretty special (my humble opinion!). I really really want someone else to get to know them and root for them as I do.

Even just writing this blog has made me feel a bit better. Onwards!

Happy New Year, by the way. I have a good feeling about this one.


  1. I hate hate hate it when this happens.

    The only way I know to get through writer's block is to go mad - brainstorm, introduce a new character, kill off a main character, just do something to let the crazy out and make the words come, and in a week or so you'll be normal again, back on track, and you won't have done anything you can't fix!

    1. Thanks for the advice Jen. I think I might just use this weekend to introduce something crazy in the MS, just for fun! The proverbial man walking in with the gun. As you say, nothing I can't clean up later.

      This is my first ever 'reply' in Blogger... yay!

  2. Sometimes it's good to get up from the keyboard for a time to brainstorm.

    The story will come to you, just don't force it. The reader (and you) can feel when it's forced.

    You may have to go on your trip - and trips are filled with inspiration - and pick it up when you return. A good story is never rushed.

    It will come to you!

    1. You know I think you might be right... my time overseas when I CAN'T think about it might do some good. I have tried to do a lot of my brainstorming away from the computer - that's what I usually do, mostly by accident. The funny thing is, almost as many insights happen as I'm typing. It's like the words unlock my unconscious stream. That's how it's supposed to work, anyway!

  3. Any time I have writer's block, it ends up being an issue with something I've already written--a character acting out of... well, character, or a wrong step with the plot/subplot/what have you. Hope you figure it out before your trip!

  4. Happy New Year!

    I've found just sitting down and allowing yourself to write crap is the key to pushing through these difficult times. It will pass!

    1. Thanks Talli - I'm fairly certain most of what's going on the page at the moment is crap, but hopefully it will turn out to be useful crap :-)

  5. I agree with Jen, bring something new to the table for your character and tell them 'eat that!'. Send them off on a new journey, it will all fall into place after that. Become your character going on your journey, jot down ideas.

    Good luck...oh and 46,000 words is an incredible amount of words to write. Well done!

    1. I like the idea of the 'journey' Glynis, that's a great suggestion.

      I'm feeling very encouraged by everyone's comments - thanks all!