Monday, December 31, 2007

New Year, New Directions

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Welcome to Author2Author! You're gonna like it here. I'm excited about this blog—these ladies are a fun group. But I'm nervous about writing the first post. After all, I'm Miss Apprentice Writer. My body of work is tiny. My works in progress are unorganized. I just started outlining novels beforehand a few months ago, for goodness sakes. How can I start out this blog?

But I think 2008 will be a turning point year. At least I hope it will be, because I did something crazy in 2007. I retooled the novel I had been working on for almost the entire year. Oh, how I agonized over its plot, too. It was realistic, excruciatingly so. I spent countless hours in medical research: me, who almost failed high school biology because I couldn't buy that "cell theory." And then one day, I woke up and said, wouldn't it be better with an entirely different plot? Yeah, a paranormal plot that would allow me to delete many characters and oh, 90% of what I wrote in 2007. It's all saved on the computer, right? I can always go back. All I have to lose is, well, 90% of my writing time from 2007. No big deal. With two kids and a full-time job, I have tons of time, right?

How do I know if I just don't want to finish this project or I really came up with a better plot? Has anyone else made a decision like this, to either move forward despite your doubts or voluntarily put yourself back at square one? I'd like to think that when I have a few novels done, I'll KNOW which of my ideas is best. I'll let you know how it goes.

Kate, Miss Apprentice Writer


Rhonda Helms said...

Wow, this is a fantastic question.

Sometimes, you have to go with your gut as a reader and trust yourself on what makes for a stronger story. You're a reader, too, not just a writer, so you do know what'll work better...

Or, maybe this is your keen writer sense perking up and helping you become more discerning in your writing, rather than just puking out whatever hits you.

Either way, it sounds like you know what you want to do. Don't be afraid of a little hard work--I'm sure it'll be stronger for it!

I've had to make hard decisions like that. The thing I told myself was to remember that it wasn't wasted work, because it helped me hone my craft, and if I hadn't written it this way, I wouldn't have known it could work better another way.

See, it's all relevant! :D GOOD LUCK!!

Ghost Girl (aka, Mary Ann) said...

Love your new blog! And that's a great question. It sounds as though you have a story to tell, you just weren't sure how to tell it. I agree with Rhonda. There is a short distance between your heart and your gut. Sometimes you set your heart on a story, but your gut tells you it just isn't working.

Writing a novel is a daunting task, no matter how sure you are of the details. And making the decision to re-work the whole thing says one thing: you are a writer! Follow your gut.

I had to gut an article I was working on and totally rebuild it. But it was absolutely the right thing to do. It involved a lot more research, but I'm so glad I did it.

Revising my novels has meant adding chapters, killing some of my darlings, and even snuffing out a character or two. But that voice in my head is telling me that that's what my story needs.

So welcome to the ranks of writing schizophrenics!

DeenaML said...

I felt VERY similarly with my 3rd novel -- the one I rewrote 3 times in 3 different tenses/povs! How much time did I spend -- not waste! No, of course not! :) -- rewriting a book that still to this day hasn't gone anywhere? I honestly don't want to know. But what I DO know is that I learned a LOT by doing that (including the powers -- and dangers -- of the Find/Replace function in Word....), and the final way the story came out (3rd person past) is definitely the way the story needed to be told.

It also taught me that I CAN rewrite a book.

And hey, Kate, at least you know your characters! That is a battle in itself that you won't need to fight as much in the next round. :)

Lisa Schroeder said...

You are so brave. I have one mid-grade novel with a character I love, but, um, the plot stinks. I think about going back and rewriting the thing, and I'm paralyzed with fear. I don't know why, because it's not that much different from starting a new project.

I love that you told yourself the old story would still be there. Like a safety net of sorts. It makes all the cutting and rewriting not so scary perhaps.

Maybe someday I'll be brave like you!

Kate Fall said...

Thanks for the amazing support! Rhonda, I think you're right about the story changing because of what I've been reading. I'm not sure my new plot is stronger in a generic sense, but I think it's more like the types of books I've been enjoying lately. The realistic stuff just isn't engaging me as much lately. I just hope I won't be tempted to change my plots every time my tastes in reading change!

Bravery, huh, Lisa? I sure hope you're right. And ghost girl, it's great to be a writing schizophrenic ... except when it's not. ;)

Barrie said...

This blog looks like it's going to be fun and interesting! And I LOVE your nicknames!!

Emily Marshall said...

Hey Kate,

I agree with Deena, because I've reworked much of my novels in the past, and although it didn't go anywhere, I learned so much doing it. It's hard to start over, and I've been wanting to do that with two of my previous novels. Only you can know what's best, though, and how much effort you need to put into it before moving on the next novel. Sometimes I think it has helped to write different novels and then go back, and other times I think you have to face facts that no matter what you do, your novel isn't going to go anywhere. You can change plots, characters, scenes, and anything in between...and it's just not working. What ever you decide, though, you have realize is going to make you a stronger writer. So hopefully that's comforting to know you can't make a wrong decision!

Anonymous said...

Fantastic first post, Kate!
I'm really looking forward to reading this blog every day.
Congratulations and best of luck for 2008!