Uncategorized · Writing Thoughts

A Time for Every Story…

This post is different than my other posts. Here I am just pouring out my current feelings because I am really frustrated with my fantasy novel, Masked. I wrote this book and its sequel during NaNoWriMo in November. I took about two weeks off before I started editing. The beginning of my edits went relatively smooth–or perhaps I should say comparatively smooth. I am currently on the bumpy road part of editing and let me tell you, it sucks. So I am going to give this edit one more weekIf I don’t like it at the end of the week and still feel like it’s going nowhere, then I will put this draft aside for the time being.

I’m unbelievably frustrated with it. I feel like the writing is crap. I keep rewriting scenes with little improvement. I discovered one of the big mysteries of the book was obvious from the beginning. I cannot tell which scenes belong in the story or not. I’m not even sure how to give it the direction or feeling I want. I’ve lost the main character’s voice. It reads more like a middle grade book than young adult, and it’s been a constant fight to bring the character’s voice to YA level. I love my characters, but right now I just hate my draft. It makes me really sad too because I’ve had this idea and these character for a long time, and I really wanted to make them shine. This draft came out better than my previous draft of this book (I did an entire rewrite from scratch without referencing the original), but I still feel like it’s so far behind where it needs to be. And I kept telling myself that the second book was better. Until I actually went through and reread the second book, and it’s really not that much better. I know editing is the magic I need to improve it and more scene rewrites, but I’m just so frustrated with it now. Too close to the work maybe? I’ve been taking a week-long break every few weeks, but I think I need more space from it.

Recently, I started writing a new fantasy novel, and I don’t know if it’s because I’m in the writing phase of it and it’s new, but I just feel like it’s so much better than Masked. The writing comes to me more naturally, and rereading what I’ve written actually makes me excited, rather than cringe. It’s actually coming across as young adult (maybe even adult fantasy. Hard to say, but definitely not middle grade.) So I am thinking maybe, if editing Masked isn’t right for the time, that I should focus my attention on this new story, get that polished up first. I just think forcing myself to work on a draft that my heart’s not in might end up hurting me and the draft. I want to be excited about what I’m working on, dedicated to improving it. Not upset and frustrated and filled with such a whirlwind of blinding emotions. I feel like I can’t even see my story right now.

So what do you think? Does it sound like I need to set this draft aside? I feel like time and space might be what’s needed. That way I can return to it later with fresh eyes, and maybe after writing this other fantasy novel, I’ll have a better feel for how to get the voice down. Any advice to offer on getting over writing blues? Maybe some hugs? (Also will accept hot chocolate, tea, and cuddly dragons.)

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20 thoughts on “A Time for Every Story…

  1. First of all. . . you wrote TWO books during NaNo? That is impressive, to say the least.

    I’m not sure if this is the best advice, but it would seem that, as long as you’re working on something new that’s giving you joy, maybe it wouldn’t be the worst thing to let the other manuscript rest a while?

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    1. Thank you. It does seem like it might be the better option. I’m doing a few edits here and there on small sections, but I don’t think I can tackle the big stuff with this MS right now.

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  2. From what you say, I’d definitely put it to one side. It seems to be making you nothing but anxious, while the new project is making you happy. I wouldn’t worry about Masked. Put it aside and while you’re working on your new project you’ll probably have an eureka moment about how to solve the problems. My best thoughts on “the other book” always come to me when I hit a tricky bit with the one I’m currently working on! 🙂

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    1. Thank you for taking the time to read my muddled thoughts. I agree. Hopefully that eureka moment will appear. If not, fresh eyes after putting some space should help identify the problems.

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  3. Two books written. Well done you! Yeh drafts can be a severe pain and there are times when you wonder ‘what the (whatever word you choose) am I doing’. Editing has its own set of traps and sometimes you can find yourself so far into the work that The Editor and The Writer in you start to clash.
    I agree with Eve & Clare put the manuscript carefully to one side, make sure its in a safe place and you’ve stored it on a Cloud or a memory stick. Then in a while you will be drawn back to it refreshed.
    There’s nothing wrong with the way you are feeling; it happens. I should know after a 30 year-long stint on writing Fantasy in the ‘same world’ but I just keep on keeping on.
    All the very best with your project(s). Just let the words flow, whichever, whenever, however. You will get there

    Roger

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    1. Thank you. I definitely had one of those ‘what am I even doing?’ moments. Putting the draft aside for a while does seem to be the best option. And setting it aside will remove my worry of trying to get it polished by a certain deadline. Thank you so much. Your words and support are very encouraging. 🙂

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  4. Oh Kay!!! *sends hugs and chocolate and my signature red velvet cupcake and more hugs and searches desperately for a cuddly dragon and express mails the all*

    First off, you are not alone in any of these feelings!! I was literally in this place just a few weeks ago and I’m sooo glad that you came out and shared your story so you could let it out and get the support you need! We’re here for you!

    I definitely agree with everyone else on one front. Because I do believe that the things in our life that don’t spark joy should be chucked out. (Obviously this isn’t true of our WIPs because we all hit lows as we write and we cannot chuck them when we are ridding a low.) But I do think that when something isn’t sparking joy anymore, then it is time to take a break.

    On the other hand, I do think that you should evaluate the reasons why this draft isn’t working for you. While taking a break from it will be healthy and good for you. Usually there are deeper issues lying beneath the surface that reside within us that actually have nothing to do with our writing and have something to do with us. Some fear we have and we take it out on our work.

    So my suggestion is two pronged. Take a break, but also reflect. *more hugs and more cupcakes for you*

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    1. Yay! *accepts hugs and chocolate and yummy cupcakes (did you find the dragon yet?)*
      Thank you! I know a lot of writers have gone through this. It’s nice to have support. I’ve been unsure about this draft for a few weeks. I do feel like I can get back the positive feelings for this draft, just not now.
      That’s a good thing to consider. I know part of it sparked from sharing it with someone who doesn’t read young adult books at all. She was very critical of it and was commenting on the “childishness” of the writing. I mean that wasn’t the only thing, but it definitely had an effect on me. And outside of writing, I have been quite busy and stressed. Writing and reading are usually stress-relief for me, but editing on such a grand scale just added more stress.
      I’ll be taking a break and reflecting more. Thank you so much for your words. I feel better already. 🙂 *receives hugs and cupcakes and sends you hugs and chocolate as thanks*

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      1. I’m glad to know you’ll be taking a break! It is good for us all when we need one. That was a BIG TIME lesson I learned in the month of February, like life lesson, lol, not just in terms of writing. Definitely be kind to yourself. I think as writers, we’re naturally prone to being more self critical and I know it hard, trust me I do. But be kind to yourself. Your awesome!

        And it totally is tough getting a crit from someone when they aren’t constructive. I wrote a post about being a good cp a bit ago and there’s a lot of stuff people do (heck, I’ve done it too, I’m human, lol) during crits that is borderline destructive. So I’m sorry that the critique wasn’t helpful. That’s sucky. When stress and life just bogs you down, everything gets so much harder, I understand that too. Just know that I’m here, I get it. I’m here to talk whenever you need 🙂

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  5. I’m sorry to hear that. I know how it, I worked on fantasy novel, a long time ago, and I re-worked it to death in the end. I agree with everyone else, just put a few thousand words between yourself and the problem. You’re already working on something else, so just focus on that for a bit, and see how you feel in a few weeks. I hope it turns out well at least. 🙂

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    1. Thank you. I’m quite excited by my other story, so hopefully it’ll help me get into a better mindset to return to editing. I’ll try picking it up again in a few weeks and read it straight through, see if I can spot the problems then. Maybe I’ll even come up with solutions while writing my other story. Thank you again! Your support means a lot. 🙂

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  6. I think taking a break from Masked is a good idea. You enjoy writing so why not work on a story that doesn’t make you upset. Maybe putting it aside for a bit will help. I hope you’ll figure it all out and I wish you luck with the new story. I have a cute cuddly dragon I drew a while ago. I’ll share him on twitter when I get on my desktop. 🙂

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    1. Thank you so much. Yeah, I think Masked will come out better if I wait and edit it later. Right now it’s just a frustrating, jumbled mess. I’ll be focusing on the new story, and hopefully I’ll get some ideas for Masked along the way. Awww that would be amazing. You’re one of my favorite people btw! 🙂

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  7. It can be tough and we are sometimes our worst enemies when it comes to our own writing but it maybe worth continue on writing the new novel and return to the other once complete. That way you may be able to look at it with new perspective and more experience.

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    1. Thank you! In April, I’m planning to do Camp Nanowrimo and focus on writing a different novel. Should be good to give myself a break from Masked. Besides, I feel like I will learn new things writing the other novel. It’s in a different POV, third person instead of first. I’ve always felt like third gives you a wider scope, easier for sentence variety too.

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