Thanks, I needed that…

I’m struggling with this YA. I know, I know. A week ago, it was on fire. Today (okay, for the last several days) I’m struggling.

So what’s the deal? On the 10th, I had one more chapter to go. Today, four days later, many, many pages later…I still have one more chapter to go. WTF!?

I did great through chapter 4. No problem, no question what was going to happen or how it was going to happen. Chapter 5 is beating me up. I am on version three of it. Or the first part of it anyway. Normally, when stuck, I’d just move on, write something else, skip to the end if necessary, just to get something written. But, the problem is, I need 5 chapters for my proposal. So, I can’t skip chapter 5!

I can feel frustration sitting in…the same frustration that I’ve talked about before that usually hits me long about 2/3 of the way through the book…not 1/3!! I’m missing something. I know it, my muse knows it, the BOOK knows it.

So what is it? I’ve had some great insight into this book this past week. I’ve read more in-depth about heart transplant recipients (very big book hint there!). I found myself adding a lot of layers to my character…but also having to struggle to keep the book an action/adventure book rather than a dramatic character study. There are other authors who do that much better than I, so I’ll leave it to them.

I can’t really identify the problem…not enough action? That would be my guess. But, I also need to relay information in this chapter that is key to the book. At least I think it is. I have applied the “less is more” theory of information-wielding to the last few chapters and really tightened them up and made them more exciting.

Oh, and to my credit, I cut a 20 page synopsis (for a 220 pg book, LOL!) down to 10 pages. Brownie points for that!

In an effort to break out of my mini-slump, I was reading blogs of some of my favorite writers. Jane Porter (A good friend, but terrific writer to boot – check out The Frog Prince! It’s one of my keepers!) has been struggling lately, too. That actually makes me feel better, because if a writer who’s written roughly quadruple the amount of books I have still struggles…well, okay, that part doesn’t make me feel better. But, it does make me feel less alone. 

So, anyway, Jane’s talking in her blog about “chisel and stone.” What it sometimes takes to get through a book…or even get started. You chisel away, word by word, sentence by sentence, for a while just having to accept that no one will recognize this as the beautiful sculpture, er, book that it will someday be. But, you know it will get there. You have a vision, and you just go for it.

But, this is what spoke to me most:

The best writing is confident writing. Writing where you charge it, go for
it, believing that what you need to say will (eventually) get said, believing that the story you want and need to tell will (eventually) get told, is writing that sells and
writing that touches others.

That’s what I’m looking for! And, according to the very wise Jane, I just have to go for it.

It’ll get there. Maybe not as fast as I want it to…and frankly, I have the luxury of time at the moment, so I should just accept the gift. I just need to dig into that well of confidence I have that I can write a book that sells. I’ve done it before, I can do it again. It won’t be perfect the first shot, but it’ll be something. Just as a baby isn’t born running, a manuscript isn’t born shining. It has to be coaxed along the way. But if there’s nothing to coax…well, you get the picture.

So, back to the drawing board. Maybe I won’t have it done this week as planned, but I’m going to at least give it a good try.

Shannon