Getting Past The Shiny Bits

ROW80 Update:

It’s not great. My little sister (an ER stroke nurse) told me that I was probably adult ADD because I needed coffee to focus my brain enough to write. That explained a LOT. And it probably would have been nice to know it sooner – I might not have ended up with this huge pile of plot spaghetti that I’m trying — unsuccessfully, so far — to fix.

To help concentrate on that, I’m adjusting my goals. I’m dropping the 1,667 word count, and leaving the posting and the planning. I’ve got to focus on the planning.

I’m tempted to scrap it all and start from the beginning. Now, I’m 408 pages in, with less than half the story told. That should tell you my level of desperation. And, I’d like to get this book plotted within the next three weeks, before my next round of students invades.

I can feel a headache starting. Time for coffee.

But before I say good-bye for today, let me give you my information for…

WIPWednesday:

Today I’m taking 8 sentences off the 7th page of “Whirlwind” (because that was the first project that opened up).

“Sweetie, I’m pleading with you. Emily, I need my caffeine. Especially today. I’ve been up for almost three days straight, working on someone else’s ’emergency,’ when I should have been getting ready for my wedding. Can you believe some new intern thought there was an outbreak of Ebola in D.C.?  He didn’t even check with his resident; he just panicked and called the CDC, who promptly phoned me. It turned out to be  nothing more than badly bleeding haemorrhoids coupled with an overdose of Coumadin.”  She sighed and raked her hands through her black, pixie-short hair. “Let’s just say that I’m a walking zombie, and definitely less than lovable at the moment. 

I feel Meredith’s pain. Off to the kitchen for coffee.

Happy writing, everyone!

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31 thoughts on “Getting Past The Shiny Bits

    • Morning, John. I’m taking your advice, even as I type. Once this first round of coffee is done, I can settle in my recliner with my laptop and headphones and have another go.

      Enjoy your day!

    • Hi Adrian. Hope it’s cooler in DC than it is here in Orlando. I’m really hesitant to leave the house today. It’s so warm and muggy condensation is running down my apartment windows. Blech.

      Glad you like the interns. If you haven’t already, check out the “Ariel” episode of the TV show “Firefly.” You can get it on Netflix streaming. An intern really screws up bad there.

  1. Not sure if I’m adult ADD or not, but it certainly would explain a lot. As for coffee, yes, yes, yes! I’m sipping an iced one today since they’re calling for ungodly temps here in Texas this afternoon.

    I like this whole “WIPWednesday” thing, which is new to me (I’m late to this round of words.) Very fun and I enjoyed yours.

    Happy writing back atcha. I’ll pop by again!

    ~Tui

  2. I say stay focused on what you think is most important. I am also thinking of scrapping what I have written and starting over with a better plan in hand. Good luck.

    • Morning Michelle. Truth to tell, I’m not even sure what’s important anymore. Something is tickling the back of my brain, maybe telling me that I actually have two stories there instead of one. I’m just not seeing it clearly. It’s so frustrating!!!

      Good luck on a new day!

  3. SHINY!

    I feel your pain about restarting a story. I have two in particular… one, I wrote a year or so ago and I love. But I love it because it rings to something personal in me, not because it’s a well-told story. The ending was kind of “then this and this and the end.” I realized that the entire 3/4 of the book was really backstory. Important backstory, but not stuff that needed to be laid out in detail. I haven’t started rewriting this one yet, but it will be a true re-write, not a revision.

    The other one is a story that started out being rather dramatic and depressing. Then I went on to write other books in the series, which were all light-hearted and funny. I’m thinking about making the story my NaNo story this November and completely throwing away the 4-5 chapters I have finished and rewriting them with a lighter tone.

    • Hi Amy. I did the same thing with Immortal Blood this year. My plot tangles have yet to be combed through. And if I don’t get it worked out before Nano (God forbid) then I’m going to have to try an entirely new project — otherwise I’ll fall off the cliff into batshit crazy land.

  4. Need. Coffee. Now. Those closest to me, as well as most of my co-workers, know never, ever, to talk to me or be chatty or squirt sunshine at me UNTIL I’ve had my coffee and can form coherent sentences. 😉 3 days of no sleep and an upcoming wedding? I’m not sure anyone would want to get close!

    • An author (who shall remain nameless) who I met at an RT convention said that this protagonist wasn’t very likable. I figured my character had her reasons, but by the end of the chapter I think I made enough of a change. (She defends Emily from a snotty butler.)

  5. Caffeine … ah, my beloved! You can have your coffee as long as I get my tea, Lara. Either way, I think it’s the only way the brain functions well–at least for me. Probably for a lot of other people too.

    And your poor protagonists… It’s hard to be the one that has to “fix it all”. I imagine she’s exhausted beyond real functionality. But that also tells us a lot about her character. She’s not willing to let go. She doesn’t delegate–she depends on the drug, but doesn’t demand a few hours of sleep….

    Maybe it’s because her head is too full at the moment that she feels she can’t. Either way, it’s great characterization.

    • Thanks, Eden! I’m glad you like her. I suspect as the book progresses, you’ll like her even more. She really rises to the occasion — all of them. At least two of them in a totally unexpected, outrageous and dangerous way.

  6. the mod [positivly boggles at what her performance will be like come the wedding day – if of course she hasn’t been banged up on manslaughter charges by then:( i think her guy seriously needs to start walking:) all the best with yout tangled story – know how you feel been through same thing last round – keep smiling:)

    • Thanks, Alberta. The butler, who her sister calls “Jeeves”, gets his comeuppance in the same scene. She does better than manslaughter – that would be too easy. It’s diabolical…(g)

      I’m assuming here that you mean her fiancee, not the butler, simply because you called him “hers.” The fiancee gets his, too.

      How did you manage to work your way out of the spaghetti monster? I’ll take any advice I can get.

      • I discovered that what I had was basicaly two stories – I too was heading for hundreds of words if I finished it- I took out the story I wanted, which left me with 30.000 words from 90.000 I have kept the rest because I know I can use it (some of it I am going to change into short stories, to go with the series – It took me days of agonising – I didnt want to jettison any of it – but I would have ended up with about 100.000 words to many.

        It was finding the story I wanted that proved time consuming – unpicking the scenes to belong to it and being ruthless with the rest – I couldnt bring myself to throw away because am firm believer in re-cycling – and I could see when I realised what was wrong that there were other usable stories there

        Dont despair you just need to find the story and seperate it – she says:)

  7. I just really like the term “huge pile of plot spaghetti.” Yes, oh yes.

    I have the opposite problem as you: my novels end up being novellas. I can’t for the life of me figure out how to make them longer without adding a bunch of stuff that doesn’t really need to be there. When I get the money, I’m going to hire a developmental editor to help me with this.

    But I can *imagine* your panic. I think if I had written 408 pages and was only half-way done telling the story, I would (a) start dying of a heart attack, and then (b) consider turning it into a series.

    • Hi Sione. I like your idea of a series. It already is. Emily (from Whirlwind) gets her own book after Whirlwind is finished. Immortal Blood is the first book in a three or four book series. The second book of the Witches and Weres series, Primal Hungers, is about Marianne and Nasir, and the third, Bernini’s Ghost, is about Marco and Noor. All this characters are introduced in Immortal Blood.

  8. Oh, man, don’t blame her for wanting a caffeine fix! Have to say I’m not really a coffee fan (it smells so good and then the taste always disappoints me :() but I’d be reaching for the chocolate right now.

    • Chocolate – my favorite health food! Nice choice Emily. The first time I was introduced to coffee, I was at Starbucks at the Sea-Tac Airport, ready to fly back to Orlando. I figured I’d be smart and try to beat jet lag. I had three mocha lattes, one right after the other.

      The whole jet lag thing? It worked beautifully. I didn’t sleep for three days. It got a bit weird toward the end, though…

  9. I too have ADD (though, I’ve always had it). I caffeinate to focus as well, though I usually do a couple shots of espresso before and tea during. I used to smoke, but I quit. I do hope you find things that work for you and keep your writing productive. Experiment and see.

    As for your WIP, that sounds like a suck-tastic time. I do hope that intern got fired for that. And that Meredith gets some bonus or something. She deserves it (and some good coffee).

    • Caffeine’s a lifesaver, I agree, Gloria. That’s the only time the intern shows up – just to explain Meredith’s exhaustion. Good point about the bonus. It never occurred to me. She’s in between jobs at the moment – her fiancee doesn’t know she’s been offered a research position in Boston, right after several week field trip in Alaska.

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