Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Whose line is it, Anyway?

As you know, I am currently in progress with my first ever Nanowrimo experience. It is kicking my butt.

I have lots of great reasons why my word count is far short of where it should be. I'm on vacation with my family and it's a little rude to hide away in my guest room with my computer for hours. Also, somewhere on the road I got pink-eye (which is really disgusting by the way) so staring at the computer for a long time gives me a head (on account that I can really only see out of one eye right now). I've also recently gotten some good feedback about my last project and I've been making revisions (again) even though I said I wouldn't and I've already sent out my first round of query letters.

All of those are valid reasons for missing my goal, but in the end, they are excuses. Very lame excuses.

The real reason I'm not hitting my word count has nothing to do with outside influences and everything to do with the story I'm trying to write. After building this story in my head for the past month, I'm not feeling it. And that sucks, because I love this story.

So, what am I going to do about it?

I could quit. I could say this isn't the story for me to write right now and move on to some other idea in my folder. But I don't want to do that. I could force myself to continue down my current path and carve each word from a granite boulder. But that sounds really hard and writing should be fun. I could change my perspective. And that's exactly what I'm going to do. Literally.

I started writing this story in third person because that's the way it always sounded in my head when I talked myself through a scene. I still think the story is best suited for third person, but it's not working for me. I have written almost exclusively in first person except for a few short stories. It's where I feel most at home.

So here's the game plan. I'm going to go back to the beginning and write the first chapter over in first person to see if I can get the story sounding the way I think it should. Then I'll keep going in whatever POV feels the most natural. Will this work? Gosh, I hope so. As always, I'll let you know.

So what do you do when a story you're excited about just isn't working? Any tips or tricks to get you going?


  1. This happened to me about a month ago. I was trying to plan a new idea I had and it was like pulling teeth. Then another idea came to me and it just flowed. That was the story I was supposed to write. So I did. I'll go back to the other idea once it fleshes out in my mind.

    Good luck!

    1. Thanks, Kelly. I still feel passionate about this story so hopefully I can get it to flow.

  2. Go back to first person.
    Ask your characters different questions.
    Nudge them.
    Ask them why they are sullen.
    Try writing out of chronological order.
    Skip to the scenes you are fired up about.
    These are all "tricks" I have used.
    Often, they work!
    Good luck.

  3. Sarah, first, forgive yourself for missing a self-imposed deadline or goal. It's not the end of the world and stress kills. Just do the best you can. Second, the changing-POV idea is good if it helps. But we all write first drafts that miss the mark (read: are giant piles of poop), so don't be too hard on yourself. The real work is in the revising.

    Just keep at it. That's the hard part. :-)

  4. This is so weird because I decided to try third person for Camp Nanowrimo too and I keep slipping back into first person. Like you, first person is very comfortable for me. Trying to "remember" to keep it in third person was definitely affecting the voice. It felt almost painful to write! :) I decided to switch back to first person sometime over the weekend. It'll be interesting to compare/contrast at the end of the month. I also do what Catherine suggested to kickstart a story by writing out of order, that usually works for me!


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