A Promise to Completion

I always promised myself that if I wrote past the first chapter in a novel, it was begun, and I had to get to the finish line and type THE END. I made it through three novels that way, but then novel # 4 came along all bright and shiny but got interrupted by two pregnancies. I picked it up again, read the story and admitted that at least 20k of the 40k just needs to be deleted, but I can move forward without deleting. I’m ok with that.

It’s the worldbuilding. So many of my notes don’t make sense. It’s like I threw them in there just because i found something neat in my research and threw it in the mix. For some reason, I came up with the concept that (yes you’re allowed to laugh) shoes had some status meaning, and that slaves weren’t allowed to wear shoes. Except that they live in a desert city and the sand probably gets pretty damn hot. Never mind they do all the physical labor. Okay, dumping the shoes thing. Then we have the second culture that shows up midway in the book, that I originally based on Japanese names/language, but it ends there. I didn’t even make a “Laws of Magic’ document which I always always always do. What the hell was I thinking??

Oh yeah, pregnancies. Gah.

What to do now? (I ask myself as my short stories creep up onto my shoulders and say ‘look at me, look at me!’ Down, down! Hush you…) What do I do with this novel? The two main characters interest me. I’ve created an interested story arc, and there’s a villain who is delightfully twisted, but is that enough? Do I create the worldbuilding on the fly, just so I can get this done and shove it in a drawer for five years and then rewrite it completely? Which is what I’d end up doing – the writing here is over five years old. I’m a different writer.

I promised myself completion. Will it kill me to finish it? No, but the revision is going to absolutely suck, and knowing that drags my writing spirit down hard. Throws it down and squashes it like a cockroach going crunch.

This is the hard part. Deciding.

One possible approach is to scrap the background I have and rewrite it from memory (mostly memory; I don’t want to waste details I researched to create a believable environment).  Rewriting my notes might at least bring the world to life for me again, and give me proper contrast for creating the second culture.

There’s also a third ‘culture’ that comes into play which I hadn’t figured on earlier, but they do affect things, so I need to come up with something for them.

I’m not ready to write this, but even as these letters fly across my screen I know I don’t want to give up. I guess this is the hard part, the blood, sweat, and tears moment.

I’m not giving up on the story. I think I just need a few days to work through these issues. At the very worst, it’s practice, right?

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4 responses to “A Promise to Completion

  1. Oh I sooooo know how you feel. I have a headache just thinking about all that needs to be done. I’m feeling a tad overwhelmed. Though it might be because my darling just went back to Qatar. I’m doing Holly’s revision course also and I might have to change up a lesson in order to move on. Not sure. I’m just stuck.

    Argh. Good luck and have a good holiday.

  2. ((hugs)) … it’s a difficult position to be in.

    However, the term ‘there’s no point flogging a dead horse’ comes to mind … you know this story is broken. You know you need to go back and review the different cultures and figure out how to make their conflicts *matter* and you *know* that if you carry on writing this story that it will get shelved for x yrs AND THEN you will face a horrific edit.

    No wonder you feel overwhelmed.

    FWIW, I think you’re better off taking a step back from just throwing words at it, and figure out the issues … and then write the rest of the story as if the opening words that you already have weren’t broken … that way, you write the story you *want* to write (broadly), without giving up on your ‘promise to completion’ and you give yourself a *much* easier time when you come to edit.

    Good luck figuring your way through this – I hope you get there 🙂

  3. I’m with Ellsea – write the rest of the story you want and ignore the beginning for now.

  4. Hi Guys 🙂 Thanks for the encouragement. There’s somethng to that approach, but I think I need to step back and stop panicking every time I look at it first. Looks like a few days dedicated to figuring out my cultures is neccessary. There’s an end to this somehow, I know it… 😀

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