The Half Way Point

Powering through the muddle and losing.

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We’re a bit past half through November and let’s not mention the lack of winter in Texas. The important thing to remember is that NaNoWriMo is half way done . . . and that is terrifying.

While I have reached my daily goal since day one, I find my story to be lacking. While I have the overall story planned, all the bits in between aren’t exactly there.

I’ve always been someone who plans some of the story before writing and someone who makes things up along the way. The problem with that is I underestimated the second book in the series. While Clan of Blood is its own book, it’s also part of a larger story. This is why I feel I should have planned out the story a bit more.

Now, there’s no use in regretting what wasn’t done. That’s not going to get me anywhere. It’s definitely a lesson I’ve learned.

As of now, the middle is slowing me down. I’m not bored, not at all, but I don’t know how to continue the main story. The subplots are there but I don’t want to derail the story and focus only on the subplots. Even though I know that subplots should feed into the main story, and I know how the subplots in Clan of Blood connect to everything else, for some reason, I’m having trouble putting it all in words. It’s like I forgot how to use words or something.

While my idea map has helped put everything into a diagram of sorts, I haven’t quite been able to plan ahead. I’m probably making this into a big deal because the editing part of my brain isn’t quite shut off. However, in the long run, it’ll be good for me to be aware that a lot of the story has to change in the edit. Clan of Ash, the first book, went through tons of edits too but unlike that time, there wasn’t a lot of pressure. Now, I feel like there is.

But it’s not like I can quit. I don’t want all that work and effort to go to waste. Plus, I need to write the second book. I love the story and the characters. I’m just afraid that I won’t do them justice. It’s just one of the many fears I have when it comes to writing in general. The idea seems so cool but the execution isn’t all there.

There’s so much doubt but I know I can get through this. I’ve struggled before and pulled through. For the moment, I’ll focus more on the scenes than the story as a whole. I won’t be abandoning the story. I’ll concentrate on the smaller parts that make up the story and try to connect them. Writing this, the ending is becoming a bit clearer. However, I don’t think that I’ll be able to fully finish the story in just 50k words.

As I type this post, the idea of just skipping everything and focusing on the main points seems better and better. If it comes down to it, I might just take that route. Or, I might not. It depends on how far I can go with what I have planned out.

*takes a deep breath* Don’t worry about being perfect. Just write.

Plot and Subplot

Are you having trouble coming up with a plot?

Just recently, I have started working on my second book in a five part series I plan to write. My beta readers are busy reading through the first book and so it’s a good opportunity to start writing the second. Unlike most people, I don’t exactly outline the entire book. I like to let the story breathe on its own and expand toward places I wouldn’t have thought about otherwise. So, I faced a dilemma.

I knew the effects I wanted to write about; the ripples of the events that happened in the first book. I made an entire list of those effects and I thought I was ready. I was on the second notebook page when I realized that I had no idea what this story was going to be about. My list of effects was beside me but it wasn’t a story. There wasn’t anything connecting these points. They were just scenes and without a connector, it wasn’t a story.

I went back to the writing board. What was my story about? I wanted to follow the themes of revenge and family but how could I incorporate this into a story? Somewhere online I read that books in a serious should more or less be a stand alone book. While they might be part of a series, it has to have its own story despite having the same cast. Thinking about my plot made me think about the overall plot of my series. I knew what I wanted to accomplish in the last book but I needed to build up to that point. How could I get to point A to point D?

The answer came to be while I was sitting at work. My effects list was in front of me and I knew that most of them were all character based. One way or another, the characters had to face that effect and deal with it. One point in particular caught my attention. The cult in my book needed more of a presence and it was in that moment that I realized that they could be the center of the story. They were the driving force.

And so, I had my plot.

It doesn’t always work that way but what helped me was that I concentrated on one detail that I could expand and luckily it worked out. This exercise, so to speak, made me realize that subplots can’t drive the story because then, without an overall connection, there is no story. If you ever have trouble coming up with a plot, shot down a few points that must happen in the story and then ask yourself: how does my character (s) get from this moment to that moment? They you fill out the details.

Take from other readings and writings that you might have done over the course of your life. The what-if game is also very helpful because it allows you freedom to think about different scenarios that you wouldn’t necessarily put into writing. Overall, it’s important to remember that each book in a series builds the plot as a whole and each piece must work together to get you to the end. But in the end, take it one chapter at a time.