Time to pull the plug?

When is it time to give up on writing a novel that just doesn’t seem to be going anywhere, especially one that was begun several years before and has drawn my attention only in lackluster spurts ever since.

The book is to be a sort of sequel to my first novel, Black Wolf Lodge, featuring the same husband and wife main characters. And since the publication of Black Wolf Lodge in 2010 (was it that long ago?), I have had many people inquire as to when the next one is coming out because they really enjoyed the first.

That, in itself, has been an inspirational motivator—usually—to prod me into getting my butt in the chair and seriously working on the thing. It’s not as though I haven’t done so previously. I have well over 80,000 words in the Scrivener bank, but I find it very difficult to do the rewriting, revising, and editing on a regular, disciplined basis. And that, my friends, bothers me.

In my previous two novels, I was excited and eager each morning (when I do my writing) to get at it and pick up from the previous day’s efforts. Watching the stories develop and come together was fun and fulfilling, leaving me with feelings of having accomplished what I’d set out to do.

Now, though, I sometimes get distressed just thinking of the tatters in which the thing currently rests! My plot seems strong one moment, weak and crappy the next. I can’t help but wonder if this lack of enthusiasm to delve into finishing the story with my best efforts is telling me something: Put the thing away and move along to write other things I have been mulling over. (I wrote about this previously.)

As of this writing, that’s my dilemma. On one hand, I want the story to work and have the protagonist come through once again and have the readers hoping there’ll be a third book in the series. On the other hand, I’m just not sure if the story merits any more hemming and hawing on my part. Of course, I’ll never really know until I decide one way or the other. Which voice should I be listening to?

Any suggestions?

Draft Complete! Time to edit & revise…

The First Draft Of My Flickr Book
 (Photo credit: rich115)

It’s nearing the end of September and summer is “officially” over with, and I have finally reached the revision stage of my novel, The Bet. Since my last post, which was written soon after we closed up the cottage, put the intrepid pontoon in mothballs for the winter, and moved back into our humble little dwelling here in beautiful northern Illinois, I have managed to bring the first draft of my novel to an end. For better or worse, the thing is “done,” and now rests and awaits some major revising and editing—two things that I’m very much looking forward to.

 

 

I’ve been reading quite a bit lately about techniques and various tips for editing and revising that seem to work for those who have shared them on various blog sites. The one thing that each seems to have in common with all others is that the task of editing and revising is arduous, to say the least, and calls for close and careful reading and examination of each and every word and sentence in order to make the prose read so well that the reader will have no doubt about what is intended.

 

 

Without a doubt, it is paramount to make our characters come to life and behave in ways that are believable, realistic, and memorable. The same is true of settings, plot, and conflicts. Glancing back through my first draft, I’m not too disappointed with my characters and settings, but I do know that plot and conflict elements will need some heavy-duty revision to get my story standing up before it ever sees the light of publication. Even so, I’m confident that I’ve told an interesting story (one that is based on an actual experience I shared way back in the early 70s), and that with some concentrated efforts these next couple of weeks, I will have an even better tale to share with all those eager readers out there!

 

 

The journey of this story to where it sits at this writing began last November with the challenge of NaNoWriMo. During the busy month, I was able to reach my word goal, but the novel itself was far short of being complete. To bring it to completion by summer’s end was my goal, and I have done so. Typing THE END at the bottom of the final page of the final chapter was a refreshing thing—symbolic of so many good feelings of having reached the finish line at the end of the marathon, even though I know darned well that there remain oh, so many holes in the novel that will need that careful and critical revising and editing. But that’s the stage I’m about to step into and move it from dull and blah to something memorable and good (my personal goal).

 

 

At the conclusion of NaNoWriMo, because I reached the magic word count in time, I qualified for a discount on the writing software known as Scrivener. It has made all  the difference in my whole approach to writing now, and all of my writing (this blog included!) is done within Scrivener. It will be another busy journey these next few weeks as revising and editing take center stage, and I am eager to get started now and comforted to know that Scrivener will be right along with me, helping to get the job done.

 

Scrivener (software)
Scrivener (software) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)