Not quite at the finish line

So I hit two-thirds on the novel and it was like a mental breaker tripped in my head.  Things skidded to a halt and words refused to come.  I felt distanced and detached from my characters.  The whole story felt like a mess and I just wanted to junk the whole thing, all 80,000 words of it.  Didn’t help that Mass Effect 3 came out and I desperately wanted to play it. (Did, and beat it, but now I’ve beat it and I don’t have that excuse any more.)

Up until last week I’d pretty much managed to keep up to my average-of-750-words-a-day goal.  Last week I flubbed that goal completely, eking out only 4500 words.  Yesterday I wrote about 1200, but they’re skeletal at best, wrong at worst.  One character’s motivations are completely absent even though they’re really important to the scene.  I’m afraid to fuss though, because I don’t know what the scene should really be, yet. It feels like a place I just need to come back to. 

So I flounder.  I don’t know what to do.  Does this mean it’s time to set this story aside?  (But this happens with all my novels, around the two-thirds point.  I set them aside, and only in one case have I ever come back.)  Do I try to push through, even though the writing feels clumsy and awful and I feel like the problems in this book are piling higher and higher? 

It doesn’t help that Mass Effect totally made me want to pick up the Motley Star again, being cute space opera. I opened up the Word file and reread a bit and felt all fond of it again.  It’s not perfect, but it’s cute and popcorn-y and enjoyable.

I don’t know.  I desperately wonder if I should open the “door” and beg for a cheerleader-reader.  I’m worried that’ll just stress me out even more, unless they’re 100% positive.  I worry that alternatively, I’m just tangling myself up in my own doubts, not really seeing the whole picture coming together.

Oh god, I desperately want to make it through this rough spot.  This is always where I get stuck.  Doesn’t that mean I should just push through? 

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Anyone else have a spot where they traditionally get stuck on their novels?  How do you push past the self-doubt?  How do you keep yourself focused and writing through it? 

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2 Comments

  1. Of course I know what you’re talking about, LC – I’ve had it with everything I’ver ever written. Two-thirds through? – You’re scared of the ending, aren’t sure of it. Endings are a bitch.
    Don’t try to write your way through it – it will be like wading through mud. Back off. Do other things. Ask yourself, what do your characters WANT? And what does the story want? A big ending? A sad ending? What?
    Don’t try to force anything. Let your daemon (or muse) do its own thing. Trust it, and it will, but it might take weeks.
    You might try reading Nail Your Novel by Roz Morris – it’s helped me!

    Reply
    • Thanks so much, Sue. I guess I’m extra panicking because this always seems to be where I get stuck. But you’re right–I think I am scared of the ending, of finishing the story, and of all that is implied by that. I have the thing outlined and it’s grand in my head, but it’s not as clear as it should be, I think, and I still haven’t decided a few things that are pretty important.

      I think I need to find ways to both back off, and yet keep the story nearby… so I don’t just put it down and never come back the way I always do. I’ve been considering picking up another unfinished work that’s suddenly calling to me, but I’m not so sure if that’s a great idea–will that just mean I abandon this one? but it is highly tempting.

      I keep meaning to pick up that book since you mentioned it in your blog. I think now is the time–!

      Thanks so much for your reply. :). It’s really helped me.

      Reply

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