darkemeralds: Dark Emeralds in red glasses (Default)
[personal profile] darkemeralds
The second meeting of the Super Hardcore Editing Group left me a bit wrung out. The work is intense and so are the people doing it. A lot of brainpower goes into those two hours--so much brainpower, in fact, that I was worthless for anything except Twitter and grocery shopping until six hours had gone by.

We spend little to no time on our prose. Two of our four members don't even have much prose yet. Just outlines. Tent Poles (PDF). We've spent 90% of our meeting time so far digging deep into each other's story summaries, trying to place those poles accurately so that the fabric of the story can be stretched taut over them.

I'm struggling with the middle of my novel. Apparently this is a common problem. The beginning of a story tends to be clear in a first draft and not that hard to spiff up in further drafts. The final act is typically pretty clear too--it's often obvious from the very moment Inspiration plants the story seed in your mind.

But my middle 50%--that is, everything between my First Plot Point (the event that introduces my conflict and drives my protagonists on their path) and the Second Plot Point (the last bit of new information, which drives the story to resolution) is a complete rat's nest tangle of loose ends, extra characters, scenes with no arc or direction...a mess.

A roadmap out of the mess is beginning to emerge thanks to the Sheggers. But boy does my brain hurt.

Date: 2015-10-04 03:19 am (UTC)
ranunculus: (Default)
From: [personal profile] ranunculus
Writing is hard work!!! Especially if you set out without a map.

Date: 2015-10-04 03:34 am (UTC)
ranunculus: (Default)
From: [personal profile] ranunculus
I'm getting kitten help with replying to your comment. Apparently the cursor is fascinating.

I'm looking forward to reading your book ever so much. Donald and I are currently reading another Portland friend's book out loud to check for readability and mistakes.

Date: 2015-10-04 04:10 am (UTC)
ranunculus: (Default)
From: [personal profile] ranunculus
Always happy to beta read. This is our third or fourth go round with Lisa. OTOH her book is pretty finished, I wouldn't be surprised if she eventually gets a publisher.

Date: 2015-10-06 02:03 pm (UTC)
greghatcher: (Default)
From: [personal profile] greghatcher
The middle is ALWAYS a slog... for me it comes from the fact that it always feels like the part I can't see. Usually when I'm plotting out a story I know what the beginning hook is, I know where I want to end up, I know what the climactic moment's going to be; those are the scenes I visualize initially when the idea comes, that the rest of the plot coalesces around. (If that visualization doesn't come when I have the initial what-if-this-happened idea, the story is stillborn.)

But the middle is all about clearing away the brush and laying pipe for moving things from point A to point B and it's just a struggle. I know of no way to beat it except to plant my butt in front of the keyboard and work through it. It's always a chore because this is the point in the process when procrastination comes so easily-- "I need to walk this one around a bit and think it through," and what i end up doing is surfing the internet or binge-watching QUEEN OF SWORDS or something. Because I don't feel like working that hard.

But it really is just putting it off, because the logjam never breaks until I'm sitting there actually LOOKING AT THE DRAFT. This is why I try to keep to a schedule-- Friday or Saturday is the column, and Sunday is usually Writing Fiction day. Once I commit to actually spending the day on the piece, it usually gets sorted out. This last one was especially hard because I had a whole sequence involving a search that I took forever to realize could just snip out. Eventually the light dawned, and I just tore it out and moved the sentence's worth of exposition I was obsessed with getting in there to a throwaway line of dialogue in another scene and the thing opened right up. After that I sailed through the final 5000 words in an afternoon, because at that point I knew what it LOOKED like.

It sounds a little nutty when I describe it but I think when you get there you'll know. Trust me when I tell you that getting through the dreaded Middle and hitting the Home Stretch is so euphoric it makes the whole struggle worth it. It's my second-favorite part of the process.

(My favorite, naturally, is being DONE and taking the victory lap. That never gets old.)

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