Thursday, July 05, 2012

Never mind the sagging middle...mine just disappears!

Let me make it clear, I'm talking about the middle of my three works-in-progress, not my physical middle! It's just fine :) Anyway, from 2006 - 2008 I started three different novels and found that the story just petered out. I'm not sure why. For the first three of my mss, I had a pretty clear idea where the story was going and for at least one of the aforementioned ones, I thought I did too, but I just couldn't get through to the end with the plotting. All the difficult mss just bog down and refuse to move. I had moments like this with the first three, but was always able to work through it and keep writing. Even the really bad first ms! It had major problems, but at least the story kept rolling along.

I can't figure out where I'm going wrong. When I finished school I thought "Yippee, I can write again." But other than some editing on one of the completed mss, I find myself too scare to even try to fix what has gone wrong because I have no idea how even to go about it. I just can't believe that I've lost the ability to write a story...but maybe I have.

Part of the problem could be that I started each of the problem mss as part of NaNoWriMo, which meant just writing flat out without doing any analysis. However, that doesn't explain why I can no longer see an ending or why my plotting abilities have deserted me. It's as though my characters will go so far and then they'll dig in their heels and refuse to move. With my other mss, often just letting my characters take over at key points provided the necessary plot twists, but this no longer happens.

Am I trying too hard? Have I picked three wrong stories? 6 wrong characters? Argh! If this was my second ms, I could totally understand it happening - first was a fluke and really, I was kidding myself. But how does someone go from successfully completing three stories to not being able to complete even one more?



Cathie Dunn said...

Aww, sorry to hear.

Why is it your characters don't listen? Could it be they fancy a change of scenery, of setting. A change of era? A different adventure?

Or is it because you're so keen to see them finished, your mind blocks out any options?

Would a new WiP help, something altogether different and fresh to focus on, away from those stories?

If you want to see it through, perhaps try analyse your characters. What does each want? Are they compatible? What else could they encounter along the way?

If you're lost for plot points, perhaps check events in the location/time, for them to engage in. With my historicals, whenever I get stuck, I browse history books for events. It helps pad out the plot.

Good luck! :-)

Tess said...

Thanks, Cathie...I don't want to keep starting new books. I think it's a matter of getting to know the characters better and, as you say, use historical events as fodder for plot twists and obstacles.

One is a contemporary - again, I think I just don't know the characters well enough. Have been reading Elizabeth George's Write Away and it's given me some good insight!