Doubt, Publish, Writing

Trudging Down That Dark Path of Despair

I said in my last post I needed to find some answers before I could move forward. At the time I wrote that post, I was in dialogue with a writer friend who is well-acquainted with the angst I expressed. A few hours after I published my post, she sent me a link to a brilliant one by Robin LaFevers on Writer Unboxed. Though I subscribe to that blog, I missed reading that post. Maybe it just wasn’t time yet.

darkpathThe title of that fantastic article is “The Seven Stages of Publishing Grief (or Hello Darkness, My Old Friend).” I felt as if it were written directly to me. Obviously it wasn’t  so there’s comfort in knowing that what I’ve been going through is common to all writers at some point in their career. As LaFevers writes:

So this seemed like a good time to talk about writers and disappointment. For while writing is one of the most rewarding pursuits in the world, publishing can be a long, slow, painful slog toward the pit of despair, and you can quickly find yourself in the soul sucking land of Major Disappointment. And guess what? This disappointment applies equally to pre-published, traditionally published, and indie published authors alike, so I guess that’s the upside: egalitarianism!

Yes, I’ve been “slogging toward the pit of despair” for a while now. But I’m overjoyed to know that’s normal—and survivable. I’ve read through those seven stages several times. I’ve been working through the Reflection stage, and now I’m about to move into Reconstruction. And I’m looking forward to Resurrection.  LaFevers says:

It’s essential that you don’t get stuck in one of the first four stages for the rest of your life. It is vitally important to your creative soul that you keep moving through them all the way to the Resurrection Stage, for without that, you’re simply stuck in a really ugly place for a very long time.

If you’re a publishing writer, or hope to be, do yourself a favor and go read that post. If you don’t need it now, save it because some day you’re going to find yourself trudging down that dark path.

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Craft, Novel, Writing

How is it Friday already?

Time passes quickly when you have a migraine—not. I missed out on half of Wednesday and Thursday, so it doesn’t seem like this should be the end of the week. I wrote exactly one paragraph on Wednesday, but I managed over a thousand words yesterday. I’m trying for the record on slowest written first draft ever.

structureBy word count, I’ve worked past the midpoint now, so that’s something. Actually, I’m about to go back and pick up a dropped thread and weave it through to the midpoint, so when I do that, I think I’ll be adding at least two thousand words more.

Structure is not my strong point, so I’m not always sure where I am storywise. All my attempts at rigidly pre-structuring fail. I have to write the story as it comes to me and shape it up later. Sort of like moving all your stuff in the new house and then deciding where things fit best. I have to actually see the furniture in place before I know what arrangement works.

But I do have guidelines on novel structure, which I consider from time to time as I write. One is a six-point “frame” from Anne Greenwood Brown at Writer Unboxed. Another is Nigel Watt’s 8-point Story Arc shared by Ali Hale at Daily Writing Tips.

These structure guides will come more into play during editing, but even then, I’ll probably modify them to best fit my story. They are only guides, after all.

Your turn: Do you have a favorite novel structure guide?