Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Don't Panic in the Middle

Because I'm at this difficult stage with my novel in progress, the Dreaded Middle, I want to share this post I read this morning over at The Book Faery Reviews, from one of my favorite authors, Susanna Kearsley.

In it she gives Six Tips to Writing a Novel from Beginning to End. I needed to read her Tip # 5.
"The thing is, when I start a book I have a lovely, perfect vision of it, and by the time I reach the middle, what I’ve written doesn’t look at all like that first vision. As a teenager, I used to think this meant I’d done it wrong, but now I know it always works like that. "

Thanks Susanna! Your advice just soothed my ruffled soul.

~ excerpt taken from the post cited, a tiny wee bit of Tip 5, which doesn't in any way give you the scope of the good advice to be found in #5, not to mention the entire post, so if you write novels, or want to write novels, go read it!

11 comments:

  1. Thanks for the link to Susanna, Lori! That was a good one. ; )

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    1. You're welcome! Susanna is such a wonderful writer.

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  2. BTW, I joined AFCW last week. I'll have to pick your brains on how it works. ; )

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    1. Oh great! Welcome aboard! Their conference is excellent. I attended in 2010. Won't be this year but in future maybe our paths will cross. :) Ask anything you'd like to know. There are loops, which I'm not on at present, and there's the website too.

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    2. I think all the info on the loops are what have overwhelmed me. I'll check out the website in more detail. Conferences are a bit out of the budget at the present, but someday. ; )

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  3. Thanks for sharing. I'm taking a copy of this article to my writing group tonight :)

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    1. Maryann, Be sure to let Susanna know if you get a chance, I'm sure she'd be encouraged to know how much her post has helped other writers. If you haven't read any of her books yet, I recommend The Rose Garden. It's a time travel story set in Cornwall, present day and early 18th century. Wonderful book!

      Here's a link to it: http://www.susannakearsley.com/therosegarden.html

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  4. I must be weird. The middle is where I relax and start to have fun. I'm like that dreadful Cat-in-the-Hat fellow who waltzes in the door and complicates everything beyond belief, or the buttoned-up kid who leaves home for the first timne and just goes wild. No restraint, just make it worse, make it worse.

    And then comes the end where I have to take that mess and work miracles. [g]

    Endings. Don't talk to me about endings...

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    1. We're all different, but I've found a lot of writers do get bogged down in the middle. I don't get bogged down as far as "what next?" I get that "can't see the forest for the trees" thing going on. I lose sight of whether I'm accomplishing what I wanted to accomplish in regards to character development. Or I'm in a place where the characters have taken over and what I thought was the heart of the story isn't really, and I'm having to invest a lot more faith in the process, which on some days is strong and others isn't at all and I have a crisis of confidence and think why did I ever think I could write a book? For some books this part of the process is so mild I don't panic. Not this time though.

      I'm much more of a plotter than you are, so perhaps that's where the difference lies? I wish I could relax and cut loose like you described, but I don't think I'd cope too well, or ever finish a book. I need a road map. It's just now and then my characters want to take a slightly different route than the one I plotted. I try to be flexible. :)

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    2. I've discovered that if I listen to the characters, they rarely lead the story astray, but rather into deeper and more interesting places that I had initially imagined for them.

      Still, there are times I've wished I were an outliner, because presumably I'd get it all figured out in advance that way, and everything would go so much faster...

      But I've tried that and the brain just isn't wired that way. We have to work with what we've got. [g]

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    3. You're so right. We have to find what works for us. Writing is hard enough when I write like me. Trying to write like someone else is a recipe for frustration.

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