Tuesday, April 27, 2010

not blocked - bored!

for the last four days (well, nights really, since the KidLit won't let me write during the day) i have been stuck on the same chapter. it's not uncommon for me to spend close to a week working on a chapter, but usually i've got momentum, pushing the plot forward.
this time i've written about  six pages and all i feel is *blah*.
i thought maybe my order of events was too linear, so i mixed things up a bit.

yeah - that didn't help.
so now i'm thinking of changing the order again. but i'm afraid i'll end up with the same result. oi.

the issue with this chapter is the exposition.
it's ALL exposition. too much "tell" and not enough "show".
the individual elements are necessary, and do indeed push the plot forward, but the manner in which i've written the chapter is just dull, dull, dull.
i mean, you know there's a problem when the author is bored to tears by her own work. i've found myself skimming through paragraphs while i proofread. THAT is just WRONG. so tonight i'm using a trick i haven't used in a while. tonight i'm doing my cut/paste/erase method.

that is to say, i'm going to cut/paste the chapter in a different file, but i'm erasing it completely from my wip. this way i'm not actually "losing" the work i've already done, but it's also not taunting black-type sitting there in front of my eyes, keeping me from looking at the work from a different perspective.
this method has worked for me in novels past, and i'm hoping it will work again. it's pretty obvious that i need to let go of what i've already written so I can move on and have the manuscript flow again.

it's kind of like cutting the dead weight. it's leaving an anchor behind so i can sail on unencumbered.
it's what i'm hoping will work to get me back on track.


Lola Sharp said...

I have to be honest, it's a huge pet peeve of mine reading a chapter that is exposition heavy. Generally I stop reading the book.

Sure, there are a few masters that can get away with it, beautifully even. But they are the exceptions.

So, I always try to show, perhaps by using some dialogue,and/or try to spread it out a bit in previous chapters.

I'm sure you know all that, and yes, I am guilty of wordy exposition in my rough/first drafts as well.

Sometimes (okay, too often), especially when I'm bored and tired of that chapter... and feeling lazy, I just leave it there, and move on to the next chapter. Knowing I'm leaving it for revisions....all Scarlet O'Hara and stuff. Yeah, I'm a bad girl. And it's why I loathe revisions! (I'm in Revision Hell right now.)

I do that place-holding-moving-on cheat when I need to do research for a chapter, too. 'Cause I don't really like doing research. ;)

Good luck with it! I relate totally.


Sling said...

The cut and paste thing sounds like a good solution to the problem.
It gives you fresh perspective on your work,and allows you to put things in an order that moves the story along more efficiently.

Christine Fletcher said...

I realized while writing my first book that if I fall asleep at the computer, something's wrong on the page.

Which sounds pretty obvious, but it took me a while to figure out. Embarrassing, but what can you do.

For me, this almost always means I'm heading in the wrong direction. I sit down with a notebook and start brainstorming, and that usually clears the way.

Good luck!

mi said...

lola - sorry to hear about your revision hell! i'm at the point where i just want to finish the darn thing so i can get to revision hell, haha!
thanks for stopping by!

sling - it does help and so far i've managed to get a page finished that i'm happy with.

christine - don't take this the wrong way, but i find it comforting hear you've had a similar experience while writing. and i agree - when it's not working on the page in front of you, it usually means it's not heading in the right direction.

Creepy Query Girl said...

Ive done that before too. Often I'll start a chapter and then realise it really that the scene I've chosen doesn't really belong there for flow reasons and that I should have tried something else. I might keep the scne for future reference or to bring something else into light later on in the book though. Good luck!