Writing is Hard

Writer's blockI have been getting some good writing in of late, although I’ve been breaking some rules.  That actually makes it a bit more difficult, although the outcome may turn out fine in the end.

The current work in progress is the circus novel, which is being written as a romance.  It was originally intended to be a longer Litfic piece, which I had started writing in 2008, but then Sara Gruen wrote Water for Elephants, and I thought my time for the LitFic had probably passed.  So I put it away.

But with the imminent demise of the Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus, I thought I should drag it back out and see if it could be a romance instead.  The problem with all of the prep work, outlining, and writing of a LitFic being transformed into a romance is that there is too much story.  There are too many characters, and too many scenes that don’t necessarily feed into a romance arc.  I know that generally, an epic-length romance is not going to sell. So that means slimming down the story, and slimming down the cast of characters.  But I want to be true to the story, and true to circus, while I’m doing it.

So about that rule-breaking…

Instead of writing in a linear way, which is my usual method, I’ve been doing some jumping and swimming and climbing and riding down the slide and doing it all over again.  I have an opening written, and the meeting of the main characters, and started writing a party scene.  But I’m struggling with that, so I moved ahead and wrote the ending.  Then I backed up and wrote  a rough draft of the Big Crisis, when a tornado rips the show apart and forces people to step up or to flee.  (You can guess what my FMC did, right?) It needs work but the basic scene is down.  Then I write the after-the-crisis scene, where the FMC and MMC finally get intimate.  Then I had to go back and write the scene where the elephant guy gets what’s coming to him.

And then I sit back and realize that I’ve got a whole lot more work to do!  I can’t have that intimate scene so late in the book.  I like puzzles, and I’m sure I’ll figure it out.  But in the meantime…

I’ve broken all my rules, and there’s still a ton more story to write.  There are a lot of missing pieces, and while the scenes themselves are good and are moving me forward on the project, breaking those rules make me uncomfortable.

But I’m not giving up. This is a story that needs to be told.  And I’m the one who’s going to be writing it!

I’d love to hear about your WIP.  What are you working on?


Fairest of the Faire

Fairest of the Faire book coverBlurb:

Schoolteacher Connie Meyers is suddenly a young widow, her husband killed in a horrific car accident. Heartbroken to find out he had gambled away everything they had, she moves to her sister-in-law’s Midwest home to rebuild her life. A trip to the local Renaissance Faire with her nieces leads to a summer job as a costumed storyteller.

Avowed bad boy and fair performer Gage Youngblood is infatuated with Connie at first sight. Despite his deliberately commitment-free life, and Connie’s don’t-touch-me attitude, he soon has her in his arms, realizing quickly she is also in his heart.

When she is threatened by her late husband’s bookie, he steps into the role of protector, his fate forever sealed with hers.

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11 thoughts on “Writing is Hard

  1. Love the direction and originality of this piece. Good for you. I do believe the path to great writing is learning the rules and then learning when to break them. I’m currently writing a western historical that plays a bit with this very idea. Best wishes to you and this new refurbishing.

    • I’m actually loving it too. It made me a little uncomfortable at first, the way I was hopping around, but it is working, so I’m not going to stop!

  2. Sounds like a good book in the making. It’s really challenging you. Don’t give up. Those are the books that shine the most. Good luck, Susabelle.

    • It’s definitely a challenge, especially figuring out which elements need to be removed from the larger LitFic piece I had originally been working on. I want to keep all those things in! But, I must pick and choose…

  3. Susabelle, did you know that Diana Gabaldon writes this way? Yep! In chunks and then pieces everything together. IMHO…there is no right or wrong way to writing. You’re getting those words out there, so if this is your new path, I’m thrilled for you! I love this direction. Often times, I find myself penning a chapter or scene in my journal and then inserting it into the story later on. Everyone is different, and I’m delighted to hear your writing has taken off! All the best!

    • It’s kind of like a patchwork quilt, and I do some patchwork quilting. But even that is in nice neat rows with a set way of doing it. This is more like a crazy quilt. And there is a crazy quilt in the story that does play a bit of a prominent role. How cool is that?

  4. So happy to hear you’re getting writing done! Good for you. I have always written chapters and scenes out of order. I’m amazed each time the book comes together. Everyone is different, something out of your wheelhouse may be just what you need. You go girl!

    • It is a bit different for me. I’ve been known to jump ahead when I am stuck and write a small scene or other, then go back, but in this case, I am writing them all out of whack! But I’m not distressed. At least, not yet! Maybe this plays more into my need to solve “puzzles,” especially those like Tetris or Mahjong where I’m trying to put the pieces in place.

  5. Sounds like a really interesting challenge, and sounds like you’re having fun doing it. Don’t let your mind get hung up on rules.

    The only problem I can imagine with this style of novel writing would be consistency, making that final read through more important than usual, making sure the story flows.

    Best of luck with this project- the story sounds totally intriguing!

    • Definitely, Katie, but it’s also helping in a way I didn’t expect: by writing later scenes that I’ve not even written the set-up for, I’m finding all those little personality quirks and just bits of characterizations that I’ve not formalized are coming together in those later scenes, and I’ll be able to use that then to build the earlier scenes. This story is definitely being written by the characters, too, and while I know that’s how I usually write, it is glaringly obvious right now as I work through this.

  6. Interesting story topic. I love that you are challenging yourself with out of the zone creating. Personally, I cannot write in any way but pantsing linear (so far), but I have been researching different ways to (GASP) plot a book because I need organization in my work.

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