Over-encumbered

Wow!

I must be a real writer! 

I’m about to look at my work in progress (currently at 15,000 words) and say, “You know what, manuscript? It’s been a good run, but it’s just not working between us. We need to re-evaluate our relationship if it’s going to ever be real, and that means taking it back to the beginning.” 
Source: shirt.woot!
And my manuscript… well, it’s a good sort. Overall, I think it wants this to work, even if it’s painful. 
I hope so, anyway. I’m going to have to take the knife to it, get some of the crap carved off and get the story back on track. 
I realized my problem about a week ago. I’m trying to write a relatively light-hearted story, and though it will have serious overtones, it should never get truly dark. And yet… 
I overwhelmed my protagonist. 
I hit him with too much, too fast. He’s just a kid, and I knocked out basically every support structure he has all at once. I mean, yeah, I want to do that, sadistic demigod author type that I am, perched atop my anthill with a magnifying glass-topped pen, but the pace overwhelmed him, and that translated to me feeling overwhelmed. 
At first, this felt a bit silly to me. Why should I give a rodent’s meaty bits about my story’s hero going through a bit of trauma when I already know he’s going to triumph? 
I see two good reasons: 
1) I sensed, subconsciously, the story isn’t quite right. Trying to write from ‘tainted’ material gave the entire project a sense of doom and gloom that didn’t match the attitude I desired. (Perhaps, with more experience, I will be able to write past this and go back and fix it in retrospect. I hope so. This will save me a lot of time… and misery.) 
2) I don’t exactly know where I’m going with the story. You know that triumph I mentioned? I’m not actually so sure about it. I hardly dare enter the debate of ‘State of Plotter v. Pantser and Discovery Writers United 4Evar’ until I have a few finished works under my belt, but I’m fairly sure that having a general target is a good idea. I don’t really know what to do with the second half of my book. This plot is problematic. 
This post is problematic. As in overlong. Still, it helps me hash out my thoughts on my second attempt at the beginning of my book. I’ll likely recycle nearly all of what I wrote, but starting anew seems the best choice. 
I welcome any feedback. 

3 thoughts on “Over-encumbered

  1. It’s good to pay attention to that voice that tells you something is off. When I listen to it I can usually get my work back on track with minimal work but if I ignore it and keep on writing, I usually end up having to chuck whole months of work.

    Right now I’m going back through the first 3/4 of my manuscript to fix all of the “tainted writing” so everything is in solid shape for the ending.

    Good luck.

    1. I did not understand the ‘still, small voice’ gnawing at my brain stem at first. Though I can string sentences together with some savvy, I’m still very much a beginner at structured storytelling.

      I realized this is a good experience, because I should be able to recognize it next time.

      Remains to be seen if I blithely disregard it and regret it later.

      Thanks for the encouragement, and best of luck in your purification!

  2. We’ve all been there. Or at least I have. And most of the time I feel like grabbing a kitchen knife and cutting the laptop into tiny pieces, because I didn’t listen to my characters. After all, I don’t think we are ever in control. Not even with our “god complex” making their lives a misery.

    I am a pantser, and I find that plotting is not for me. Well plotting in the beginning anyway. When I get to half of my word count target, I go over the major points. Most of the time I jot everything down on a white board, and then revise. Seeing what’s going on, helps. Maybe it’ll clear your mind and hopefully you’ll be able to make sense of what the second part of the book should be like and what you are striving for.

    Just remember, give them hell LOL No, seriously, you need conflict, and resolution. It doesn’t have to be a happy ending, but an ending. Hope that helps!

Leave a Reply