Susan’s Randoms: How My WIP is Spraining My Brain

This week, The Randoms talk about what we hate about our WIP (work in progress). Now, we realize “hate” is a strong word, but sometimes, you really do want to just move the whole dang document into the trash bin and start with a clean, white Word Document. The following is what is tempting me to right click my WIP and scroll to “delete.”

1) I can’t figure out my opening scene. I know, I know. “Susan, just skip the opening pages and get started on Chapter Two or even Chapter Ten.” I have an artist brain, so I do think in a nonlinear sort of way. But I also have an analytical, the-bathroom-towels-have-to-be-in-the-same-color-family-as-the-wall-color kind of brain, and skipping Chapter One is along the lines of skipping K-6 math and jumping into Algebra. Blindfolded and lobotomized. I’ve gotta have a firm handle on my story, my characters, and the promise I’m trying to fulfill for my reader (aka, “My heroine will overcome all to embrace who she is”) in those first pages. If I don’t, I’m going to have to rewrite those out-of-order pages totally and completely in my time-crunched and energy-depleted world.

2) This is a BIG story, and I wonder if I have it in me to do big. It’s humongous, since I’ve plotted it out to four-books deep. That takes a lot of brain power to keep organized and clipping along at a good pace. And now that I have Mommy Brain, I’m working at about 20% power. If I were a microwave, it’d take about an hour to pop a kernel of popcorn.

3) I keep copies of my favorite YA’s close at hand as I work on my WIP (per a writing book I once read about keeping the quality of your work up by reading quality work right before you start writing for the day) and this practice has left me starting my day wondering if I can ever write as well as those YA authors do. Maybe I need to rid myself of these books until I’m done with the WIP. I know many a writer who won’t read anything in their genre while they’re writing. Hmm. I do have a nice murder and mayhem book I borrowed from Dad. I guess I’ll read that. (Until Stephenie Meyer’s Breaking Dawn comes out Aug. 3. Then I’m turning off the TV, forgetting to eat, and praying the baby will work with me while I devour that book.)

4) I wish that I could find my tone so I could be much, much further along than I currently am. Every book, I have to find the right tone. But this time, it seems a lot harder. I don’t want snarky, but I don’t want boring. I want humorous, contemplative, and beleaguered teen. But do I want 20/20/60? Or 40/10/50? Or 5/90/5? Or… See the problem???

5) Stephenie Meyer said in a recent interview that she’s a much better storyteller than she is a writer, and I’m afraid that the opposite is true for me. The writing comes easily–I used to teach English 101 and 102–but the storytelling’s a bit harder. It’s there, it’s coming along, but I have sprained my brain sometimes trying to work out a scene. Literally, I get a sprain. The kind of sprain that has me channel surfing for some dumb E! reality show afterward. For the rest of the night, I really can’t handle more than watching Denise Richards getting a spray tan and putting rhinestones on her dogs’ nails.




Filed under Susan's Randoms

3 responses to “Susan’s Randoms: How My WIP is Spraining My Brain

  1. Wow Susan, four books deep? That is stressful! But exciting too. I agree that getting a handle on your opening chapter is important, even if you change it ten time before it ever gets published. I also agree with Stephenie Meyer that she is a better storyteller than writer. I’m surprised (and impressed) she actually admitted that! But that just goes to show how important “story” is. You can do it! Is this a historical novel?

  2. Amanda Marrone

    I can’t imagine plotting four books–you’re a regular JK Rowlings!

    I remember after my daughter was born–she cried 24/7 and I was useless for anything but numbly channel surfing, too!

  3. Angie–It’s a historical/paranormal, but not in a Libba Bray sense. It’s historical in sections and present day in others.

    Amanda–Luckily, I don’t have a crier, but I do have a walker/crawler/getting into everything-er at the moment. Me so tired.


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