Starting From Scratch

It’s been awhile since I’ve worked on a new story. I know that sounds weird, but I’ve been working on the same WIP (work in progress) for over a year now. It started out as novella for a submissions call. One R&R (revise and resubmit) later, I expanded it into a 60k short novel. Another R&R later it’s now nearing an 80k novel. Hopefully by the end of the month it’ll be polished and ready for submission. Again. Can you tell that I really love this story? That or I’m a masochist 😉 (And between you and me if it doesn’t stick this time, that’s it. I’m not going for a round four!) 

Which leads me back to my thesis sentence—it’s been a while. I’m having a hard time remembering how I’m supposed to work on a new idea. What was my process again? I’ve been digging through my idea folder but so far nothing is strong enough to even make an outline for. Yes, I’m one of those writers. A plotter. *pauses for gasps*Inspiration Lightbulb

The story I thought I’d be working on next is fuzzy and I can’t figure out what the characters’ arcs are which is usually the extent of my plotting. It’s flat and uninteresting at this point.

I can’t remember a time when I’ve had nothing. Usually I have the opposite problem, hence the idea folder. Usually I can’t be trusted to let the new, shiny idea take hold because then I’d have a folder full of partial chapters and no finished stories to send out.

Any advice?

I’ll just be over here, polishing the story that will not end and trying not to freak out…


Starting From Scratch — 10 Comments

  1. I think when a writer’s been so focused on one project for so long, it’s difficult to change gears and even think about something else. Keep looking through your ideas file. Read, especially new-to-you authors. Go to movies and read the newspaper. Some of my favorite ideas come from the newspaper! Let yourself be open to new ideas and experiences for a while, and I think an idea that excites you and gets your writer’s juices flowing again will soon hit you. Best of luck.

  2. I agree with Jana. Read, read and then read some more! Venture into genres you didn’t think you’d like (but I’d suggest trying books in those genre that are highly-recommended). Watch movies and television shows. Sit at the cafe and eavesdrop. Do all of this with your creative mind open to new ideas. Ask lots of what-if questions regarding things you read about and hear.

    Now, I’ll just be trying to get my monkey mind to settle into working on one of the four partially-finished projects that I’ve been doing everything but working on. Sigh.

  3. I’ll bet it feels weird, but there’s something so special about a clean slate, too. Once you let go of the present WIP at the end of the month, something will just slip right in there and it will be FUN!

  4. Oh my goodness. I can SO relate.

    What I do when I’m struggling to find joy in a story is pull out my character development worksheets. I forget plot and just focus on where my characters came from and what emotional journey they need to take.

    I start with past issues, baggage, if you will, and just think about what challenges they might face that will tempt them to backtrack. I don’t worry about how they can possibly overcome the challenge until I get some words on the page and feel like I have someone sympathetic to work with.

    Good luck!

    • I think we might be kindred souls, Jessi! I love character worksheets & figuring out their arcs :) I wonder if part of the problem is that I’m still so invested in the current WIP that I can’t see anything else.

  5. The book I started in March was kinda one-dimensional, but I just started writing. As I’ve written and become acquainted with the characters, they’ve come to life and the layers have developed. It wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t started writing. The original first chapter is no longer the first chapter. And today I’ve been going through and layering in all I’ve learned about the characters. I know it can be hard picking just one book when none of them are calling to you. Pick the one that you’re most enthusiastic about then just start writing. See where it takes you.

    • That could be a huge part of it Samantha. I have *issues* with first drafts. I forget that first drafts are supposed to be rough & imperfect. Just writing is sometimes like pulling teeth lol.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *