It's a new year and time for Insecure Writer's Support Group, hosted by Alex J Cavanaugh. I hope to have a new year of encouraging posts rather than angst-filled ones. We'll see. You never know until you get there.
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In mid-December, I stated here that I would write 10 to 20 chapters in the second half of December. I'm pretty sure I said it more than once.
But I had a problem with the gummy middle of my WIP, the novel I half-wrote during NaNoWriMo. Each of the last few chapters were only partially done. I was so burnt out on it that I labeled the last several chapters as "Chapter Next" instead of giving them a number.
In the gooey, half-done chapters, my characters were in a church during a blizzard. They were trapped there until I figured out how to build a bridge between that scene and the first chapter of the second half. I was trapped there too.
I thought it would be easy to start clean in a future chapter where the sun was shining (very temporarily) and time had moved on. So I outlined from the midway point of the novel, the point I hadn't quite gotten to yet, all the way to the end. I tried, but I couldn't just pop forward in time and write the first chapter of the second half. It was like I was paralyzed.
I thought cleaning my desk would help. It didn't.
So instead of starting fresh at the halfway point and easily writing the new chapters without worrying about the undercooked middle scene, I went back to finish the Chapter Next chapters. The fact is I couldn't number my later chapters anyway until I knew how many chapters came before - apparently I'm a smidge too OCD to carry on with estimated chapter numbers.
Very slowly at a rate of half a chapter a day, I fixed the three Chapter Next chapters and pushed through into the darkness until I cried with my characters and knew it was just right. Then I wrote some new chapters, not ten or twenty, but enough.
When I told my teen what I planned to write in the next few chapters, she stood up in horror and said, "Oh, God, Mom, that's so dark!" And she left the room. My husband and I giggled. I must be doing something right.
How awesome is it that I can ick out a teen like that with just the premise of a story? It's not paranormal or sci-fi or fantasy. There are no vampires or gruesome creatures. No one is carrying an ax except to chop wood. There aren't any serial killers or deranged people. I do have one mean drunk that did at least one terrible thing while intoxicated, but he wasn't in the scene I described to my daughter. It's a story that really could have happened. It's just life.
Sorry to tease you all - I don't want to give away what happens quite yet. I can't wait to get it done so I can get my CP's reaction. Apparently my teen won't be volunteering to read this one.
This month I feel very secure about my ability to go to the dark side in my writing while keeping it real. I hope that next month's post will be about how secure I feel about finishing it. Maybe not.
What do you feel secure about in your writing?
If you'd like to sign up for this monthly group hug or read through the post of the other participants, go to Insecure Writers. We love comments (except for the anonymous kind with questionable links), so don't be shy.