I’ve been working on this novel for ten weeks and logged maybe 10,000 useable words. That’s being generous. I’m really trying, but at this rate there is no way I will finish the first draft by June. It’ll be more like December.
Maybe it will be a novella in June.
Eventually we ended up with Barbie scarves. Ever since then, when a project dwindles into nothing, it’s a Barbie scarf.
Every time I think I’m going to have time to write, I get two words in and something comes up. Someone wants something. Somebody needs to get wiped.
I’m not just talking about real life thwarters. My characters all seem to be tangling up the yarn, adding rows, dropping stitches, sending the story in directions I didn’t intend for it to go. I know, I’m supposed to follow the story, not dictate it. But it’s been such slow going– sometimes it takes all day to write a couple hundred words. I don’t want to think I’ve wasted any of this time writing Barbie scarves!
Anyway, the plan for week 10 is to keep plugging away at the plot. Up until now I’d been spending a lot of time with the main character, but the focus is beginning to shift to the others, and two of them in particular are telling me they are not who I thought they were.
I made more 3×5 cards, one for each of them, outlining:
- Her goal/desires/problem to solve
- Cross purposes: How does achieving her goal put her at odds with other characters?
- Obstacles: how can I impede her?
- What seemingly bad things end up being beneficial?
- What seemingly good things end up being a curse?
- What does someone else have/do/get that she thinks she wants?
It’s in working through these goals and problems that the characters’ motives and personalities are becoming clearer. And they are completely different than who I thought they were or should be.
A bit like life, I guess.
Does this happen to everyone? What do you do– follow the new trail, and let your characters tell it their way? Write all the scenes and publish a “choose your own adventure” novel? Or just go back to knitting?