Sunday, March 6, 2011

Confess your love, your love as well as your folly

I am officially in the Dreaded Middle of the book. I know this because I figured out last night what has to happen to end the story, and because I put my pov character into the place where she will make the choice that will set her irrevocably onto the path where those things do happen. I know I am in the Dreaded Middle because I have stopped adding complications (Dear God, please I have stopped adding complications, because right now this manuscript is the literary equivalent of a terrible garbage bagel) and I'm beginning to tie off the threads of the story.

I also know I am in the Dreaded Middle because about one day in three I am sorely tempted to lock the notebook in a drawer, and start a new book. This is the point where my internal editor gets loud. I'm no longer in the first, blissful stages where I happily stay up all night with the story, and not quite at the point where the ending is so loud in my head I can barely stand to leave the desk, much less my house. No, this is the point where that nasty voice in the back of my head tells me that this kind of story has been done before. That I'm not saying anything new. That the manuscript is such a mess that I'll never be able to make sense of it. Over and over and over. 

(Honestly, I am a bit worried about the last one. I kind of feel like my working title is secretly Cthulhu's Gordian Knot: The Hydra Strategy).

I have strategies to deal with those days. I don't allow myself to delete a scene until the next morning. I remind myself that in the last book, I temporarily had an Unfortunate Romantic Subplot. That I didn't know who Character X was until I had finished the zero draft, and didn't know who the Bad Guy was until 3/4 of the way through the first rewrite. That revision does not mean failure, it means I put on my big girl pants and wrote even when it hurt. On the long dark nights of the writerly soul when none of those things work, I make myself write one more sentence, and then I close the notebook and do something else.

Because I have characters that I love, and I owe it to them to tell their story. Because from here, in the slough of the Dreaded Middle, I can see the beginning of the end.


  1. You can get through the dreaded middle, Kat! Don't lock it away. And don't let the Evil Voices win. (In different context, that'd be such an odd statement to make. hehe)

    You're telling a story. And sometimes, the story tells you. So to speak. But you're making something completely new -- because this story came out of you. No one else could do it like you are.

    I'll be over here, with coffee, cheering you on. ~Ali

  2. We need buttons: "Don't let the Evil Voices win."

  3. That would be awesome. I'd also gladly drink my coffee out of a mug that said that, too. *grin*

  4. Go Big Girl Pants! Boo Evil Voices!

    Love to you, honey!

  5. Maybe we could also get coffee mugs that say "Go Big Girl Pants!"

    Love back!

  6. I'd also love a mug that proclaimed, "Fire bad, tree pretty." But that's totally beside the point. *grin*

    Hooray for Big Girl Pants!