Sunday, August 26, 2012

Sometimes *breaking* is a good thing

Have you ever opened the box for an IKEA bookshelf, or a new BBQ, ceiling fan, or something else you have to build yourself and realized it's missing the set of instructions?

So, you end up standing there with a picture on the box of the final product, a heap of random parts, a rubber mallet, a screwdriver and a set of pliers in your hands, and you have no idea what to do first.

I've had a lot of things on my brain lately, almost all to do with writing.

And I'm a self-admitted failure when it comes to multi-tasking.

Too much thinking means I'm not doing anything, I'm just standing there with my brain going around in circles*

A few night ago, when I should have been fast asleep, my single-geared-brain was stuttering away over this post about how to fix "Simon's Oath".

Thanks to all your wonderful comments, I took the time to cut/paste all the agent feedback into a single Pages** file and moved all the pieces around so I could see the big picture. Then I shoved it in the back of my head to stew for a while.

...and proceeded to stall-out on my "Brake Fluid" edits because "SO" was still sucking down too much fuel.

...and yes, Simon's character arc at the end still doesn't work for YA, but I discovered a deeper flaw in the story.

Narrative style.

It's too distant.

When I analyze all the separate comments, that is the overarching problem.

I've been stuck with a heap of parts and no set of instructions, but suddenly, everything clicked together and I could see the order in which it needed to be assembled.

Too bad I'm going to have to smash the hell out of it with a rubber mallet so I can take it apart and put it back together correctly.

No, I'm not changing the POV from 3rd to 1st, though I certainly did toy with the idea. I'm also not going to stop the alternating viewpoints between Simon & Hector. What I'm going to do is re-write about half the scenes from the opposite character's viewpoint, then tighten the entire story so the narrative is a closer 3rd person POV.

BUT, now that my brain has solved the "SO" problem and is running again properly, I'm back to working hard (and single-mindedly) on my "Brake Fluid" edits. "SO" can wait, at least until "BF" is cleaned up, and I've already decided that I'm going to devote this year's NaNo time/energy to writing the first draft of "Afraid of the Dark" (which still needs a new title) 'cause I've got a character in my head that's just dying to peck it's way out*** ;)

I think after that point, I'll have enough distance from "SO" that I'll be able to smash it up with precision rather than haphazardly whack it to bits out of pure frustration. After all, it takes just as much skill to take something apart as it does to put it back together.

And I still do believe in this story. I think it's worth saving, even if I end up having to re-write most of it. I don't mind making big or scary changes as long as the heart of the story remains intact.

...and from all the car references in here, you can tell I'm completely back in "BF" mode...

Yup, my simple brain can only do one thing at once.

Thanks everyone :) All your comments really helped re-energize me.

* this would be an excellent time for a couple of dumb-blonde-jokes ;)
** no more evil Microsoft on my computer
*** pun intentional. You have permission to smack me with a rolled up newspaper.


  1. I usually drown myself in a tv show or random internet surfing when I have major revisions to do. It helps me deal with what's to come and also avoid it. After a while everything sort of clicks into place and I get my butt in gear...and after the task doesn't seem so daunting as it did before. But I couldn't do it without the first part, the avoidance of it.

    1. Ha! I've been watching episodes of an old cartoon called 'Teen Titans' on my computer, and French movies like 'Amelie' and 'Love me if you Dare'.

      Yes, procrastinating with other kinds of entertainment seems to get the brain back on track (eventually).

      Have you finished your query re-write?


Type me out a line of Shakespeare or a line of nonsense. Dumb-blonde-jokes & Irish jokes will make me laugh myself silly :)