False Starts

Oh heyyyy

So today I wanted to talk a little bit about the absolute struggle of figuring out where you should start your story.

I’ve always struggled with beginnings, no matter if I’m writing a novel, a short story, a poem, an essay (introduction paragraphs are the bane of my existence), or what have you. But I’ve never realized how much of a hurdle they really were for me. I didn’t like them, but I always managed to write them and make it work.

As you know I’ve been *ahem* struggling with revisions. I’ve basically been ripping my hair out for the last two months trying to get this story together. But I didn’t realize that the reason nothing was coming together was because I was starting my story in the wrong place.

I was getting so excited about all the things I had in store that I was skipping over some major plot points and character development that I didn’t even know I needed. All I knew was that something was wrong but I could not figure out what.

Enter post-its and letting things simmer.

I’m not kidding these two things saved my story. (And my hair.)

What I ended up doing was this… I basically threw up every little thought I had about my story onto post-its so I could see everything that had been battling for attention in my head out in the open. And it helped me so much. There wasn’t any pressure to try and fit things together, no stress of filling plot holes or tossing things that didn’t make sense. This was an absolute thought dump.*

A small sampling of the thought dump with the bonus of my super motivational calendar

Then I looked at everything I had written down and I let things simmer. I didn’t ignore my story, but I didn’t try to control it either. I had all my ideas out, I could look at each and every one of them and just absorb them for what they were. Ideas.

After a few days of this, I had an actual idea of where I needed to start my story. I was able to look at all my ideas and see where they needed to happen and what needed to happen before them.

Then. I got to writing.

I made a very basic outline through Scrivener’s corkboard of the events I wanted to happen and I got to work.

And now, I feel amazing. I know what needs to happen but better yet, I know where my story needs to start. And spoiler alert! it wasn’t where I had originally thought. Not at alllllll.

So, that’s all I have for today. Let me know if you have ever struggled with false starts and please feel free to share how you were able to figure them out! (I know I could definitely use more advice!)

Thanks for reading!


*Side note: I’ve done thought dumps before (as I’ve mentioned in past posts) but I’ve always done them in a word document. I’ve realized that I need to see all my thoughts in my writing in a physical form. Not in text on my computer that I need to scroll through. 

Advertisements

Revising/Why I’ve Been Gone/Update

Hi everyone!

Ah, I’ve missed this.

Sheesh, it’s been two whole months since I’ve said anything over here. Not okay. Not okay at all. Do I have an excuse? I mean, yeah. I always have excuses. Are they valid? Meh…

Why have I not been posting? Well, (excuse #1) the end of the semester was crazy. Lots of essays and tests and just general torture but I made it through! YAY summertimeeee and the livin is easy. (Ha. If only.)

Then the day after my last final (excuse #2) I jumped on a plane and headed to good old Chicago. Caught up with friends, celebrated my brother getting engaged, celebrated Mother’s Day, my brother’s birthday, my mom’s birthday, and my best friend graduating from college. Lots of celebrating. But it was great.

Okay yada yada yada that’s all fun and good but I’m not on here to prattle about my life and all it entails. I’m here to share my writing journey. And, well (excuse #3) that’s been going pretty horribly. I know I’m keeping this blunt, but I want to share all aspects of this (the good and the bad). So, here we go.

As most of you know, I’ve been working on revisions for my WIP. And those have been a lot more challenging than I thought they would be. Really, the aspect that I’ve been struggling with the most is figuring out where I need to start my story, but I didn’t realize that this was the real problem until very recently. That, above all else, has made me want to punch a wall and cry for days.

I don’t know why I thought revisions would be a breeze, but I learned my lesson. And learned it. And learned it again. And again. Essentially, my “revision process” has gone like this:

  • Thought dump ideas and start to write.
  • Write 40,000 words of new draft only to realize none of it works.
  • Get a meticulous plan in place for revision.
  • Scour through first draft to find issues with plot, character, and setting.
  • Realize issues and dream up the perfect book.
  • Realize I have no idea what my perfect book is, realize I have a character driven story when I need a plot driven one, realize I don’t even know what my plot truly is, realize I want to rip my hair out and stab my eyes out with scissors.
  • Breathe. Realize this draft may not be what I thought it was. Realize my plan for my rewrite is also not what I thought it was. Go back to square one. Outline the hell out of this story.
  • Still have no idea what I want.
  • Remind myself that I am a pantser.
  • Have panic moment about not finishing revisions in the amount of time I thought I would be able to.
  • Yell at my audio notes for a good while until ideas start taking shape.
  • Take a break to let things simmer.
  • Write. One page.
  • Keep on writing until things start to click into place.
  • Have another panic moment when things begin to fall apart again.
  • Stick Post-Its all over the wall with every plot point and idea I’ve ever had.
  • See the real story taking form.
  • Take another break to let things simmer again.
  • Begin to write finally knowing where I need to start.
  • Cry tears of joy and relief.

So, that’s where I’m at right now. As you can clearly see, that means I’m a complete mess and all over the place. But, I’m finally confident in my starting point. I’m finally able to see what I need to include in this draft and what needs to be saved for future books in my series.

I can get more into the real details of all this (false starts, letting things simmer, etc.) in future posts, but I wanted to give you all a quick(ish) overview of what I’ve been struggling with the past couple months. I’m not entirely sure why I didn’t document this while it was happening, but I think it’s because I was so stressed (with no end in sight) that talking about how nothing was working out would have just stressed me out more. But now I have a light at the end of the tunnel and I’m feeling much better about everything. Phew

Thank you all so much for reading this rambly update. I hope you’re doing well in your own writing journey 🙂 And if you’re not, hopefully, you were able to find some comfort knowing you are not alone. Clearly.

See you next week! (I promise!)

Not Quite Sure What I’m Doing Here…

Why hello there,

Alright, first post on my new blog. (Fun fact, this blog used to be about the importance of sex education for one of my university classes…lolz…not anymore! I wanted to keep my domain name…okay this side note has become too long.)

So, what is this blog? Essentially, my plan is to treat this space as a diary of sorts. A diary to document my journey of writing my book and (hopefully!) getting published. I know I love blogs/vlogs dedicated to writing, so I figured I’d try it out!

So, we’ll see how this goes.

Stay tuned for my next post that I’m going to go write right now and will probably be up in an hour. So much anticipation, I know.

Thanks for taking the time to read this silly, small little intro!