So I know my last few posts have not necessarily concerned writing per se, and the reason for that being, I have not written much in the past week. I’m working on that, but I’ve been stuck in a bit of a dry spell which is ironic since New York decided to honor all its residents of Irish decent and rain like freaking hell for two weeks straight. Now don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the green becoming greener since it really is my best color, however all the Yankee games have been messed up resulting in a 4 hour rain delay on the ONE DAY ALL SEASON I GOT TICKETS FOR MY WHOLE FAMILY!
Sorry, this event occurred a few days ago, but I’m still a bit bitter if you couldn’t tell.
Moving on the Relevant Topics, I believe I have discovered the Reason behind the Writing Rut: I’m sick of my story.
GASP! What did you say, Miss Rosemary? You are tired of Laura’s Letters, the one novel that has been with you the longest and features the imaginary man with whom you are passionately in love?
Well, yes quite frankly, I am. I’ve been focused on trying to finish this damn novel for so long that it’s all coming out forced. I’m forcing the story out, not letting it force me to stay awake until four in the morning because it so desperately wants to be written. My slight affliction with OCD doesn’t help; it prevents me from skipping little not so exciting scenes in the middle and jumping to the very exciting scenes in the end which is turning all scenes into forced scenes. This thing would be finished if I wrote what popped into my head when it popped into my head. I also think my plots would not change as much if I just wrote them down already instead of waiting for them to come chronologically in the story. But no, I cannot allow myself to do that, that would make sense.
So, due to this … let’s call it a Predicament … I have decided that Major Changes must be implemented.
The First Change
Laura’s Letters is being put aside for the Time Being. This Time Being may last one day, it may last one month, it may last one year. The conclusion is, I have to stop thinking about it and let other characters steer me for a while. I have three novels complete which are in desperate need of Revision.
As soon as I get home from work today, I will take up the task of finishing typing Damn Brits (a title which I hate but cannot think of a replacement for at the moment). This novel I began exactly two years ago, started revising and never finished. It is set in London, a place I do love despite their Snow Inadequacies (I’m sorry British readers. I will never be over it. Never) but I had only visited for three days when I wrote the original manuscript. Two years later I have lived in London. I know the great places. I know specific streets. I know the Underground lines. I’ve walked around the dodgy areas at night both completely clueless and completely pissed (both meanings of the term apply). What seems fake in the novel now, I can alter and authenticate.
The Second Change
When I do return to Laura’s Letters, I’m tackling it with a different approach. One of the other reasons this thing is not complete is that I have so much going on within it: two (possibly three) romances, brotherly tensions, mother-in-law problems, WWII, court intrigue, wealth vs. poverty, religious conflict, father/daughter struggles (for five different characters), kidnappings, maybe a death, 20th Century royalty, villains, heroes and ex-girlfriends to name a few. I’ve come to realize that this is going to be a Big-Ass Book. Like Margaret Mitchell or Diana Gabaldon big. I can’t decide if I want to cut it in pieces or leave it. The problem with breaking it up is, there’s no good place to cut it. The plots are very continuous and build too much to be fragmented. Big-Ass Book it is.
This means that I have to keep my storylines straight. Since I don’t write first drafts on the computer, but rather in journals, this presents a problem when one storyline is progressing more than another. Fortunately, in addition to OCD, I am afflicted also with a disease known as Impulse Buying. Many of you may suffer from it as well, and you will know that once you see THE pair of shoes you just HAVE to have them. For me, it’s not shoes. It’s journals. I believe I bought over ten journals in three and a half months while traipsing around Europe. I had to ship them home so my bags would not be overweight (they were overweight anyway, but that fact is irrelevant).
So I have plenty of journals. The New Plan is to devote one journal to a specific storyline and combine them all later, rather than attempt to write the whole thing as it will appear in novel form. Thomas and Laura’s romance is the crux of it all, hence I will write their story first. This also includes her conflicting emotions about the family who abandoned her, trying to live peaceably with Thomas’s mother, adjusting to his wealthy circle and recovering from abuse she suffered as a child. That could possibly be enough for two journals of itself so Nathan’s struggle to best his brother and eventual romance with Gemma will be a separate one. Lance’s battle to stay alive on the battlefield and battle his as of yet unnamed ex for custody of their daughter gets one too. And the bad guys just get thrown in everywhere.
There you have it. Major Changes and a Big-Ass Book.
What do you do when you want to finish a story but just can’t? How do you keep your intertwining storylines straight?