May I ask you a question?
Have you ever put one of these guys in your manuscript?
Honest moment: I used to mentally balk at people who would do that. My elitist self would think, Just work through it, people! I mean, that’s the motivation for me. I know where I want to go and I want to get there and usually that’s what pushes me through the hazy, unclear spots.
That was before Franken-novel. Before I became a nonlinear writer. Before the days when I wrote my black moment before the midpoint. Let’s just say Alison had
But I even rationalized that as a first draft occurrence. No way was I leaving Xs in the
*cough* whatever *cough*
Rewind to January—Alison’s broken through several barriers, climbing over walls that had been overwhelming obstacles. Massive wall number one was a poem that occurred early on in my story. The girl who knows she’s not a poet slaved over lines and entire stanzas, making sure the meter was just right. Making sure it made sense. I sent countless versions to a critique partner, revised, sent again. I finally got what I wanted and moved on. Then, I hit a standstill at chapter eight, worked on it for a week before I was happy with it. Moved on.
No Xs for me! I thought. I’m going to beast this, er…beast.
But then I got to a scene I knew I needed to write. I knew what it would entail. I knew the conflict and the resolution. I had a beginning and an end. I just had to write the middle.
And I couldn’t do it.
You see, it involved poetry—not just me writing a poem— but interpretation of poetry. And I needed to choose the perfect lines from a poem that would be perfect for what my characters needed and wanted to do.
The scene also involved something else that I knew would be, um…extremely challenging to write.
I felt overwhelmed. I can’t do this. The scene was too big for me.
And after weeks of staring at the screen, after frustration and self-loathing, after sorting through countless stanzas of Paradise Lost. After five different documents of brain spew and back and forth emails with a critique partner, I just…I just had to move on.
And guess what went in my manuscript?
Yep. *hides head in shame*
But really. I look at it this way. I can get hung up for two months over one scene or I can move on and chink away at it when I’m mentally and writerly* strong enough. And that’s what I did. I worked on a stanza here, an uncomfortable moment there. And finally, by the beginning of March, I was able to take that X out of my manuscript.
And put a new one in two weeks ago. J
And I’m totally cool with that. Because, you know what? Eventually that big X will come out. When I'm writerly ready.
So, how about YOU? Ever put the big X in your manuscript?
* writerly is totally a word. Well, it is now. ;)