Monday, October 5, 2009

Written from Planet Psyche Myself Out

Tip of the Day: Before you buy pumpkins, check them for fruit flies. Liquid pumpkin guts on your porch is a little too gruesome!

I have just begun work revising a very important scene. A big scene where different plot strings have to come together. There needs to be adventure, tension, revelations, and 7 characters interacting, all with different motives. I can't forget the setting, either, or how my main character is feeling extremely worried about her best friend hating her and about being caught sneaking around. She has to find the right things sneaking around that reveal enough of the mystery to take us into the end of the book.

I am procrastinating this like mad, and nothing is working to get me working.

I feel in over my head. I can't do all this! So what that I have a million notes. I have too many notes! They all say different things!

I've been trying to bribe myself by telling myself that this is really the last thing that needs to be revised and after I finish, I can send out queries. That isn't working. Now I'm like OMG, everything rides on this scene!

In other words, I'm psyching myself out. I'm rapidly approaching "I'm not good enough, I'm not smart enough, and nobody is going to like this" territory. I wonder what Stuart Smalley would have to say to that.

I deserve good things. I am entitled to my share of happiness. I refuse to beat myself up. I am attractive person. I am fun to be with.

Okay, seriously, how do you get yourself out of a psyche-yourself-out mode?

-- Kate, Miss Perfecting the Pages


Alissa said...

I find myself in a similar predicament (it's not always writing related) several times each week. The only thing that seems to work for me is to think positively and stay focused on my goal.

Shannon Messenger said...

It's hard. I battle it myself all the time. Sometimes I read something I wrote that I'm especially proud of. Sometimes I'll find something nice someone wrote to me (even if it's not writing related) and read it a few times. And when all else fails, I scratch kitty tummies and let the soothing purr take me to my happy place.

On a side note, I've been in your predicament with my writing and I've found that the problem is often solved by writing advice I got back in college: "This should be more than one scene." (Boy did I get that note a lot!) I know it doesn't seem like it (believe me, I'm fighting your same battle with a couple scenes in my draft right now because I just don't want to split them up) but it's funny how often that advice is right.

If nothing else, splitting a scene into multiple scenes can sometimes show you what the throw-away stuff is. You might find that one of the new scenes is totally pointless and boring, and thus, not necessary for the plot of your book. Knowing that, you can re-write everything as a single scene w/o all that extra stuff and bam! Magic. Just a thought...

Kate Fall said...

Thanks both of you! Shannon, I've been wondering the same thing. Maybe I just need to break this down and write it by plot string like those are different scenes, and then put it back in chronological order. Maybe these are two different scenes that just happen to be in the same location. I definitely need to break this down into smaller pieces somehow.

DeenaML said...

I like Shannon and Alissa's suggestions. I also was recently told by an editor to try writing the scene from other characters' povs -- not just the main pov character's -- to make sure you nail what they want and will do. Then merge that into the book with the correct MC pov. I haven't tried it yet but think I will for 24 HOURS....

Jeff said...

I'm a big believer in what Mary Poppins said: "Once begun is half done" i.e., getting started is half the battle.

For me, one thing that keeps me from starting is the fear that I won't be happy with the outcome. So I counter that by taking the pressure off myself - I tell myself that I'll do 3 different draft versions - each starting from scratch - just as an exercise - none of these will intended for use, just for idea generation.

Invariably by freeing myself to get started I end up with exactly what I wanted in the first place.

Kate Fall said...

Yes, I really need to give myself permission to write stuff I know won't make it to the final draft! I have such a problem with that.

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