Like a Knife Fight In the Dark

Writing has not been going well.  I’m about 12,000 words in and have come to the conclusion that my current storyline is just not working.  This is not unusual for me.  Normally I would just power through and then make changes on the second draft.  This time there are just a few too many fundamental flaws.  Which means I am going to need to start fresh.  So that is 12,000 words down the drain.  But I feel that I now have a much better handle on the plot and how I need to open the book, so that is a plus.

One of the things that I have heard published authors talk about (and have found very true myself) is that the biggest piece of being a writer is just finishing something.  I struggled on my first novel (three years to finish), but eventually got there.  My second (four years and I can’t even count the number of versions) was even more painful, but I finished.  My third (three months) is still waiting for a second draft that I will get to some day.  My fourth (11 months) is the one I am currently shopping to agents (why oh why will they not respond).  In each of those cases I finished the project, but for each completed work there are at least two that died early deaths.

Finishing a novel is hard.

Some authors meticulously plot out their novels before writing, others wing it as they go.  I heard Bernard Cornwell speak last year, and he made a comment along the lines that he doesn’t even know what will happen on the next page let alone at the end of the book.  That is the way I write.  It is very much like getting dropped in a dark basement with only a knife, to fight dangerous beasts you can’t see.  It’s exhilarating, but rather dangerous.

No matter how you write you still have to finish the project.  That is why it makes me nervous to start fresh.  I’ve been down this road before, and I don’t want this project to end up as another almost wrote.

So, if you need me, I’ll be down in the basement with a freshly sharpened blade…

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