Last week I questioned the plot to my novel. Nothing unusual in that; I do this whenever I’m ready to move onto the next few chapters, as it helps me to work out the direction that I want to take. I will write and rewrite my plan for the next scenes until I have a detailed idea of what I’m going to do. By going over the same thing several times it gives me the opportunity to bring in new suggestions or improvements. And because I’m constantly refreshing the story, the novel is always developing even when I’m not actually writing the chapters. The only problem with this method is that occasionally I’ll think of something that will completely disrupt what I’ve already got in place.
This is what happened last weekend when I decided that I should switch up the event sequence. Because I’m nearing a crucial part of the plot my pace had already slowed, but now that I’m thinking about changing how things are going to pan out everything has just ground to a halt. Although I’m not in the most ideal of situations, I don’t want to go ahead until I’ve chosen the right path. Rushing my decision, or writing regardless, could impact my novel later (the worst case scenario would be me realising that I should have done something differently and having to go back and redo everything), so I feel being cautious is the right way to go about things at this point.
The only problem of course, is that I haven’t written anything since last weekend. Even though I’m still keeping up with my book and Solidus, it is my book writing that I enjoy the most. I really do miss it. I’ve been involved with these characters for the past few months so it’s difficult not to be writing about them. Even when I was in the states I did my best to write at least once a week. Without writing regularly I’ll always have the fear of the story going stale, which has happened in the past (re my 3 previous attempts).
It was suggested to me that I should perhaps take a breather from the book and work on a different project. By doing this I’ll keep my creative juices flowing and I won’t just get frustrated being stuck with this book. Hopefully I can then come back to it later with a more open mind, with new ideas that might help me bypass this particular obstacle. I wouldn’t be the first writer to follow this plan either, with authors such as Stephen King well-known for having a few books on the go at the same time.
Now I’m against this idea because I can sense it going badly for me. Like I mentioned at the end of paragraph three, this isn’t my first attempt at a book. Three times I’ve had a go at a novel. Each time I’ve run out of steam after 40,000 + words. I’ll think of and idea and just go with it, disregarding concepts such as ‘planning’ and ‘structure’, only to regret it later when I’m looking at a blank page (which is why I rate planning so very highly nowadays) without a clue of where to go next.
This time is going to be different. No longer will I give up and move onto to something new. I’m determined to finish it. More importantly I want to finish it. So there is no chance that I’m going to take a break and do something else. No way Jose. The blog is enough of a distraction as it is. Anything else would be too much.
As a result I’m in a bit of a stalemate at the moment; I’m not sure how to proceed but I’m also adamant not to just leave it as it is.
Well I thought I was stuck. Then inspiration struck me again.
The problem I’m having at the moment is that I’ve written a lot without really progressing the story all that much. Furthermore there are certain sections that I haven’t mentioned that I want to include too. To summarise there is a lot of content but I’m limited to how much I can use. The recent problems I’ve had is a result of this. I don’t want to spend too long on the next few chapters but at the same time, I can’t afford not to. If I just skip past it then the consequences that the reader discover later won’t have the same impact.
So what is the solution?
Simple. Make it into two books!
I had never even considered a sequel before. The plan from the beginning was just to have the one standalone novel. And yet now that the idea has been introduced to my brain, my imagination has been in overdrive thinking about how I could split the story up into more than one book. Suddenly I’m looking at thousands and thousands of new words that I could use. The limitation I was feeling before has been somewhat lifted from my shoulders. If I want to go into greater detail I now have the opportunity to do so (I even bought a little notepad today to help my exploration of a potential second book).
Of course this does unfortunately mess up what I’ve already done, as I’ll have to shift things around, rearrange the chapters etc. But my overall plot will remain the same (it’ll just be broken up), so providing I stick to that I feel this change is manageable. I’m excited. Who knows, I could end up with a trilogy. Everybody loves a trilogy, right?
Having said I’ll probably change my mind in a month and do something completely different instead. For now though things are looking good. Difficult, more complicated…but better. I’ll let you know how I get on.
In other news Sue’s daughters are here in preparation for tomorrow. We have some entertainment lined up for this evening (I have cider!) so I’m looking forward to that (cider isn’t overly popular in Minnesota). What I’m not excited for, however, is getting up early tomorrow for the Great North Run. No lie in for me this Sunday, as I’ll need to up and ready by 7. You all better appreciate the pictures I upload later because waking up early is not something I enjoy.