The Yarnspinners

News of anthologies by Kim Cox, Elizabeth Delisi, Chris Grover, Elaine Hopper, Maureen McMahon, and Sheryl Hames Torres--The Yarnspinners!

Monday, September 11, 2006

Wrong Turns, Dead Ends and Brick Walls

Wrong Turns, Dead Ends and Brick Walls

I guess every writer has, at one time or another, no matter how perfectly they’ve plotted their story, wound up taking a wrong turn, or facing a dead end or a brick wall and asking themselves, “What happened? And where in heck do I go from here?”

It’s happened to me in the past, and will probably happen again in the future. Some people call it Writer’s Block, I call it “Taking A Wrong Turn”. True Writer’s Block is something else entirely.

Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve been writing up a storm on a novella that is supposed to be finished and turned in by the end of October. I had about 12k words written and everything was moving along like a well-oiled machine. I was so pleased with myself, I began hanging out with dh and the kitties, watching TV and patting myself on the back—all I had to do was another 5-6k and I’d be finished well before Oct.31. No sweat.

At least that’s what I thought until yesterday morning when I read over what I’d written and discovered I’d gone so far off track I’d written the hero out of the book. With absolutely no way that I could see of getting him back in, there was I, facing a very blank brick wall with no idea which way to turn.

I don’t do a lot of detailed plotting for a short story. I know roughly where it’s headed, and then add and incorporate new twists etc. as I go along. Anyway, after thinking about my dilemma, I realized I would either have to come up with another idea for a brand new story, or fix what I had by dumping about half of what I’d written and starting again from the point where I’d suddenly got this “really great idea” for a plot twist.

It’s always hard to admit you’ve screwed up. It can even be harder to trash what you’ve written and start over. But since I know this is part of being a professional writer, this morning, I cut and pasted out the part where I took the wrong turn—I’m the cautious type, so I put this part in a new file of its own--just in case, decided the “really great idea” was probably one of the stupidest ideas I’d had in a long time, and started over in a whole new direction. The story is moving along perfectly now. The hero has to take a back seat temporarily, but it’s still his and the heroine’s story, and he’ll be back with guns blazing (only figuratively speaking, of course,) to rescue the heroine from the villain, so they can ride off into the sunset together.

Oh yes, I guess I should mention that “really great idea” has not only managed to weasel its way back into the new version of the story, it works even better now.

The story is called JUST ONE LOOK. It’s a contemporary erotica set in Provence, in the South of France, and will be published by Amber Quill--probably some time early next year.



At 12:52 PM, September 12, 2006, Blogger Elizabeth Delisi said...

Sounds like a great story, Chris! Can't wait to read it.

I always outline before I write, so I've never had this happen. But not everyone likes to work with an outline.'s saved me from painting myself into a corner many times.


At 12:44 AM, September 13, 2006, Blogger Maureen McMahon said...

I can totally relate, Chris. I'm not an outliner, personally. Whenever I've tried to outline, I find it stifles me. However, I do one...but a very loose one...just so I can see beginning, middle and end to the plot and subplots. I also hate it when I go back and re-read and realize I've totally forgotten a subplot I was working with ... or a character has become redundant.

Thanks for sharing - and I'm looking forward to reading the story!


At 3:11 PM, September 19, 2006, Blogger Kim Cox said...

I can definitely relate, Chris. In SM, I had started the book as a mystery when I got the great idea to change it to an romantic suspense. After all, it had a lot of romance. Months and months later after cutting the beginning about five times, it began to read more like a romantic suspense. But I had an ex-HQ editor gone freelance editor read it and she made me realize that I needed to kill off one of my main characters in order for it to be the hero and heroine's story rather than the other character.

This turned out to be one of the hardest things I'd ever done. I didn't think it would be, but when I killed him off in chapter 3 and started cutting him from the rest of the story, I almost had to rewrite the entire thing.

Judging by the amount I had to cut, she was totally correct about him taking over the story.



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