Same Problem, Different Day

ROW80 update: I’m still going, trying to get at least 700 words in every day. However, I’m really struggling with getting this middle part down. There are so many problems, I’m not even sure where to start.

First, I think I might be dragging this out too much. I thought I should take my time and develop the characters as they discover their powers, but the way it is going, there aren’t that many powers left for them to discover. Cailin has found all of her abilities, and is rapidly learning how to use them with skill and finesse. Carter doesn’t know he can breathe underwater yet. I am thinking of having the killer try to drown him after stabbing fails, but that probably  shouldn’t come in until near the end of the book. Andy has discovered his ability to use his energy blasts, but I have only hinted at the prophecy power as if it was simply a danger sense and nothing more. As for Lisa, I have hinted at her telepathy, but she is keeping it a secret from the rest of the group, so I haven’t brought it into focus yet for the reader. She has no idea about her shape-shifting ability yet.

So as the kids are rapidly getting comfortable with their new powers, I don’t have a reason to drag out the story. But if I don’t extend the middle, then it will definitely end up being less than the 60,000 words I have planned. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it certainly isn’t what I want.

Another problem I have is that the characters aren’t behaving the way I expected them to. I wanted Carter to be a sullen boy with a bad temper, and he is turning out to be more of a wise-cracking joker. I thought that Cailin and Carter might hook up romantically, but everything he says just makes her mad. She tends to practice her telekinesis by dropping large rocks on his head. Andy had become the leader of the little group, which is strange for someone who I thought would end up to be a lot like a serial killer himself. And Lisa isn’t the camp slut as I expected, but is instead more of a wallflower who hangs on Andy’s every word.

I had to rewrite the first chapter because of this, and now the kids are doing it again. I don’t know if I should just give in to it, or try to force them to be more of the juvenile delinquents that they are supposed to be.

On a similar note, the final problem that I have is writing for this ensemble cast. I find myself repeatedly focusing on Andy, even though all the others are there as well. I have worked their viewpoints in to the story too, but not nearly as much as for him. It almost seems like every scene needs to have either the whole group in it, or at least Andy. While I know that I should be branching out to the other kids more often, and writing scenes that don’t include Andy, it just doesn’t seem to be happening. Part of it may be that he is supposed to be the most intelligent person in the group, and so can explain the things that are happening to the reader, but that is a lousy reason. The story would probably be better if there were more scenes where the reader didn’t get that explanation. And having a certain level of confusion in the story would mean that the book would have to be longer as things are figured out and explained later. But how do I do that now, when I have 40% of the thing written?

I guess probably the only thing I can do is continue on and try to work out some of these issues as I go. I’m sure that editing it will be a nightmare, but I still believe in the story and I think it will all turn out okay in the end. I just need to keep on keepin’ on. If nothing else, these regular blog posts are helping me evaluate my writing as I go. I’m making notes about all the editing issues that will need to be done later.

I’ll see you again on Wednesday. Wish me luck!

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3 Comments

Filed under ROW80, The Writing Experience

3 responses to “Same Problem, Different Day

  1. I don’t know your characters, but maybe you can add a little more words, and depth, by developing them a bit more. Give the bad guys more good points, the good guys some nasty flaws. Is working for me in my editing of my novel.

  2. I think perseverance and tenacity help us most as writers. For me, the most powerful words in your blog post were: “I still believe in the story.” As long as you believe in the story, the editing will take care of itself and as you say, editing comes later. There is editing and there is getting the story written.

    There is a great deal of power in just writing the story through, which may mean a lot of revision, but writing the story out does give you the heart and tenor of the story. Regardless of how approach it, your tenacity is shining through.

    Best to you in this round.

    Karen

  3. I wouldn’t worry to much about your “infatuation” with Andy. You may find yourself committed to one character now and then later adopting a fondness for other characters as well. For now, write the story you have to write and add in more substory later. Add in background scenes that make the world richer… Perhaps throw in examples of festivals for this society, have your main characters observe things or make commentary…

    It sounds like you have plenty to work with, you just need to make it more detailed. And a lot of that comes in during the first edits.

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