In the past three years (Gosh, it doesn’t seem like it’s been that long!), I’ve come to realize that my writing process is quite cyclic in nature. This isn’t so much tied to the time of year when I may or may not have more free time, but feels more like one of those buckets on a waterwheel. First, it dips into the river and scoops until it’s overflowing, along the trip up out of the river, some may splash out, but really it empties in one big dump to contine back around again for another refill.
I seem to always be in one of those two modes, where I’m either pulling all sorts of things into my brain or dumping them back out again. The river of information includes several sources such as books, blogs or workshops on the craft of writing, published novels both in Regency Romance as well as any other out there (and sometimes the further the better), poking around into various research sources, as well as just plain ol’ people watching. Depletion of these creative stores is where the actual writing and idea generation come in. Once my head is stuffed full of ideas and they have a chance to percolate, they simply must escape again.
The problems come when I foolishly try to work against this cycle. I should know better by now that trying to generate new word count when I’m in need of an inflow period, it isn’t going to be pretty. Talk about a feeling of writer’s block. Oddly enough, reading an article or book on the craft of writing while in the middle of an outflow period, doesn’t switch the flow, it just doesn’t click or get absorbed as well.
Since returning to writing mode late last spring, I’ve been busy building word count and struggling to reach “The End” of Beneath His Touch. The good news is that I have something written for the whole plot line. The problem I’m up against now is that I need to go back and layer in actions, descriptions and thoughts around the runs of dialogue that went down so smoothly in the past couple months and every word is like pulling teeth.
I’ve been fighting the urge to set it aside and work on something else, anything else, because it feels so close to be able to say, it’s done, but I know it isn’t. Also, my critique partner is ready to kill me over the cliffhanger chapter endings and she KNOWS she’s only 4 chapters from the end. I’m nearly done with chapter 18, but the thought of doing two more chapters is killing me.
Because of Veteran’s Day, the kids had a four-day weekend. This translated into more segmented time for me, especially since their dad was home sick one day there as well. I made the mistake of picking up a craft book. Yup, I have even less desire to go work on those last two chapters now. I want to either start a new project or go back to page one and rework all the progress I’ve made in the last three years on this one. And I said I picked up “ONE” craft book right? Wrong. I may have said one, but that lead to at least two others as the weekend progressed.
The great thing about going back and rereading these books is that after letting them percolate for a while and trying out some of the techniques, those ideas become assimilated and internalized. So it’s a great feeling to go back and read them again to find that I get something new from the text, or something that didn’t quite make sense before, suddenly clicks.
My brain is telling me that I’m ready to embark on my next journey of study. But I’ll be good. I’ll force myself to flesh out these last two chapters, but then look out! I’m ready to dive in and conquer plotting. Yep! I seem to be going about this completely backwards, but I believe it’ll all be good in the end. By the time I figure out how to string scenes together effectively, all the other stuff will hopefully be second nature.
If you know of any good books, workshops or websites discussing plot, I’d love to hear them!
So much for a post about what I learned by finaling in the SYTYCW contest, but I think I covered that in the introduction to my Excerpt Monday post that will go up tomorrow morning with the extended opening of Marcia’s story: Revealed. So come back tomorrow to check that out!