I’ve just blasted through the first act of my new work in progress. It was like falling in love again, my passion ablaze for this new subject and new characters. My fingers flew over the keys and the exhilaration of creating had me in its grip—until I got THERE. You know the “there” I’m talking about. That point when you realize you’ve laid all the groundwork you need, and it’s time to start making things happen. This is where the stakes must rise and the character really starts to unravel. It’s the place where I down-shift from fifth gear to first, and suddenly feel as if I’m wading through waist-deep mud.
At this stage, the “shiny new idea” has lost some of its luster. Those perfect and lofty concepts of story have suddenly morphed from glorious, inspired musings to basic building blocks: word count, paragraphs, dangling participles, bad grammar. GAH! Yeah, that’s all part of it, but the other big issue is the psychological mind f*ck that happens during the long, rambling second act. The characters seem to all sound the same, the plot feels flimsy and unbelievable, and the descriptions awkward. My confidence drains away and I start to feel like a total hack. I begin to question myself. Should I scrap these pathetic pages? Is this novel complete tripe? Does it even have a point? NO ONE WILL READ THIS CRAP.
I sink deeply into that mud. In a moment of desperation, I dial a writer friend! Invariably the conversation goes something like this: [Read more…]