a bit of self indulgent blah blah on writing a novel that is taking its jolly sweet time coming out

I’m whispering because the kids are still asleep, the low winter sun is sliding in through the yurt dome (finally), and all is quiet.  This is my writing time.  I set the alarm (Sleep Cycle app on my ipod, best alarm clock ever) and when it goes off, I  reach over to my bedside table for my laptop, pull it over onto my chest, and write, right here in the bed.

I’m supposed to be writing right now—on my novel that is, not on my blog—but I’m not.  Don’t tell anybody.

Actually, I just started the second (okay, it’s the third, but who’s counting) draft of the new novel, working title, Cooking for the Dead, a terrible title, I’m awful at titles.  Anyway.  The second draft means I got as far as I could go (almost to the end) on the first, crappy, just-get-it-down draft, before I realized I didn’t know anything and had to go back to the beginning to change everything.  It’s a stupid system.

But the second draft means progress, and progress is good.

Yesterday, I finished the new first chapter (first pov voice, Takeda), and got to feel that glow of accomplishment all day.

Today, I started the new second chapter (second pov voice, Dog) and got stuck.  Of course.


I tried, tried to do this novel in some efficient, organized manner, a la my last book where I learned all kinds of fancy new tricks.  I TRIED to be a plotter, not a pantser, for this new novel.  I really did.  But no.  Spinning this tale has been like trying to spin stubborn, short, fibers that keep breaking and will only come out of the fluff slowly, slowly, slowly.  For example, I only just figured out the fantasy element, that is, the central plot focus!!!—and I’m six months into writing!!!!  How stupid is that??? How can a person write nearly 200 pages of a novel and not even know she doesn’t know the central plot focus?  Okay, I had a clue that I didn’t know…but STILL.

I am an idiot.

They say each novel is different and you only know how to write the novel you’re writing right now.  The next one, you have to start from scratch, figuring the process out all over again.

In my experience, this is true.

So, blah blah, the fluff-strand broke again this morning.  I opened up Scrivener (best writing app in the ‘verse, second app recommendation of the morning!) and realized I have no idea how to write my second pov person, and that I am lost.  Again.  Thus the stalling with this blog post.

I show up, every day, but sometimes I just don’t know how to do anything.  I ask myself, what do I need to know in order to write this chapter?  I know the character, I know what happens, but, but, but….  ????  Maybe I’m just scared.  This book feels so personal.  (I say that about all my books.)

Okay, sometimes it just takes a while for the voice in my head, the one that tells me what to type, to become clear. I need to be patient and keep asking questions.  The answers show up.  They do.

In the meantime, we put up an adorable Christmas tree on Sunday that Paul and Sophie found in the woods, a little frondy cedar.  Today I’m going to make cookies with the kids.  Chocolate chip.  Plus I need to go to the bank,  buy some wrapping paper, and do something about the dishes, lord save me from the dishes.

And all the while I’ll be thinking about Dog, and how to write his chapter.  If it’s like the last six months, I’ll just suddenly know what to do, it will be super obvious, a quiet duh, like the knowledge seeps up out of the ground and suddenly I’m standing in a wet spot.  But it will only be a hint.  Just enough to get me a few more steps along.

It’s maddening!  I have never written a novel hat has required more trust than this one.  I hope it works out all right.  It’s just a little story, no big deal.  So much drama for a little story!

2 thoughts on “a bit of self indulgent blah blah on writing a novel that is taking its jolly sweet time coming out

  1. Pingback: books have their own DNA that will not be denied. at least, mine do. | mayaland

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