Friday, January 16, 2009

Mired In The Middle

I have been very quiet here because I've been posting NEGATIVE word counts, and, frankly, that's just embarrassing.

Part of the problem is that I'm finishing a book, so I've already got a nicely put-together first half, and as I'm writing the second half, I'm having to go back and, you know, DELETE things. The middle has been very bloated and a bit unfocused (so when you read a tightly written, focused, exciting, book middle, write a note and thank the author profusely...she probably worked very hard to make it that way), which makes it tough to move forward in the last third, but I've been recombining and paring down scenes for the most impact and the writing is stronger for it. The book is stronger for it. The characters are stronger for it. The STORY is stronger for it.

So I have something like 46,446 words to make the JaNo count, which turns out to be 2,903 words/day. Not impossible, but improbable. Though only about 20,000 of that is the current story. I tend to blow through the opening chapters in a new story, so if I can FINISH this one, I might have a chance.

But I wouldn't go to Vegas on those odds.

Of course, after yesterday's word count of -247, there's nowhere to go but up, right?


Alyson Noel said...

Oh, that sagging, bloated middle!! It's always the hardest part.


Stick with it though- sounds like you're making fantastic progress!!

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

I really don't think you can think of it like this, Amy.

You're revising - you're supposed to be cutting things.

As long as you're producing good work, and if Jano helped you with that, then that's fine.

That must be so frustrating, though!

Keri Mikulski said...

I hate the middle! Argh.. :)

BTW, I liked the sagging, bloated description, Alyson - so true. :)

Keep going, Amy! :)

Dru said...

You can do it. Everyone comes out of the middle. Keep up the good work you're doing on your book.

Melissa said...

I wouldn't worry about the word count if what you're doing is making the book stronger. That's the only thing that matters! Good luck.

Anonymous said...

One of the best ways to remove "middle sag" was something I learned when I took a workshop from the Royal National Theatre in the UK a few years ago.

I complained that middles were my biggest problem.

My teachers had me write a scene.

Then they had me write the scene before the first scene.

Then I wrote the scene after the first scene.

Basically, I wound up writing my way to both ends from the middle.

I used that the last time I taught my dialogue workshop, my students had a near-complete story by the end of the week.

When I get stuck, I still use it; it can be modified for sections of books.

Marianne Arkins said...

See THAT'S why I am not going back to look yet.