Wednesday, July 11, 2012

(Work-in-) Progress Report: Clyde

Word count (to the nearest thousand): 43,000
Status: Almost finished with the second draft
Attitude: Antsy

I'm antsy because I want to finish, finish, finish! I think I'm only a week or two away from sending Clyde off to his first round of beta readers, and I just want to send him. But I promise not to do it until I complete my revision process, so don't panic, Ben and Myrna! I'll do my best to make it (mostly) comprehensible:)

As for how this last month and a few weeks have gone, I'll be the first to admit that it's been a little dicey. Almost three-quarters of the way through the first draft, I realized that I'd written myself into a place I didn't want to be in, and it took me a few days to decide how to get myself out of it. Thank goodness for good friends who talked me down from the ledge and helped me find a way out of the rut that I was trapped in. I was literally two clicks away from chucking the whole thing out the window, but they managed to keep me from doing something they knew I'd regret. I don't remember everyone I e-mailed in a panic, but I do remember that Liesl was the one who gave me the idea that kept me going, so thank you, thank you, thank you, Liesl (and everybody else who wouldn't let me quit).

Has that ever happened to you? Have you ever written yourself into a corner, then convinced yourself that there was no way out? I can honestly say that that's the first time anything like that has happened to me. I've had my rough patches, sure, but I've never been tempted to just delete a draft and walk away.

Now that I'm here, on the verge of finishing another draft and shipping it out for feedback, I'm so glad I didn't do that...


Ben Spendlove said...

*gasp* I'm also glad Liesl talked you down. (Isn't it interesting how we use suicide as a metaphor for drastic action?)

I've certainly gone down the wrong road and had to rethink things. Happens all the time. But I've never considered scrapping a project on the first draft.

*settles into armchair and gazes contemplatively at the fireplace*

There was a point when I was writing THE FREEZER that I felt sure I'd gotten it badly wrong. I took a whole month off. Before I started writing again, I read everything I'd written—and loved it. I picked up right where I left off and finished without changing a thing.

Now, whether that was the right thing to do remains to be seen. I only mention THE FREEZER so you'll remember you're supposed to be critiquing it. *pounds arms of chair* Get back to work!

A.J. said...

I was feeling exactly the same way a few days ago. Convinced I was writing the most boring middle grade mystery ever, I nearly quit one-quarter of the way in.

However, as NaNo has taught me, sometimes you simply have to push through. The good news is that ways to enliven my storyline are slowly coming to light. I may be able to resuscitate this one after all!

Krista Van Dolzer said...

Ben, the same thing happened to me with Steve (although the circumstances were slightly different). I had to stop working on his first draft when those rapid-fire revision requests came up with Bob, and when I came back to him months and months later, I discovered that I loved him even more. Even now, Steve's first fifty pages are largely intact.

(And speaking of fifty pages, that's about how far into THE FREEZER I am, so I'm reading it, I promise!)

A.J., that is such a good piece of advice--push through. Most problems can be solved if you just keep going, in writing and in life.

Myrna Foster said...

I am SO with you on that first sentence! I love the changes I've made to TBW, but I just want to be done so that I can share them. *sigh* It looks like we'll finish about the same time, though. Hurray for Clyde! :D

I tend to save everything. I will set something aside, but I always promise myself that I'll come back. I have a NaNoWriMo draft that's been chilling since about the time I started reading your blog. And it's not speculative fiction. I'd call it dark comedy, but I don't think that's a genre. ;o)

Happy Revising!

JeffO said...

Congrats on the near-finished state! It's a good place to be. I've found myself written into corners, but not quite to the point where I wanted to chuck the whole thing. But I have been stymied to the point where I couldn't see my way out of it for a few days. What a frustrating thing that is!

Suzi said...

I haven't gotten myself stuck like that, but I understand wanting to send it off. I'm making a few revisions on my WIP from betas and then will send it off again. There are little things to take care of, and I think, oh I'll do that when I get it back.

But I should make it the best before sending it off.

Amy L. Sonnichsen said...

Wow, I didn't know you were that close to pitching it in the trash! I'm so glad you didn't, too! Excited to read it next round, Krista!

Lauren said...

Sure. Sometimes I have to back up a little and rewrite from a different point. Usually I find that I took a turn a while back that led to the problem, and I just need to change small details.

Sometimes I just keep writing and deal with it on rewrites.


Leslie S. Rose said...

It's funny how a story can suddenly feel like it's trapped in an evil maze. I'm so glad you found the right turn.

Krista Van Dolzer said...

Myrna, I have a hard time setting things aside. In fact, I don't think I've ever set something aside that I intended to come back to. I do have several first drafts I started but never finished, though...

It is frustrating, Jeff. I must not be very good at coping:)

Suzi, I've found that I get more out of the critique process if I send my drafts out sooner rather than later. If I tinker and sit on them too long, I start feeling like they're already done, and then I don't take as much time to incorporate my readers' feedback as I should.

Thanks, Amy! I'll definitely get in touch when I'm ready for round two.

Lauren, isn't it nice when you only have to change small details? :) And I like finishing first drafts, too, and then tackling things during the revision process. I'm in such a different mode when I'm first-drafting that trying to revise at the same time usually just trips me up.

Great analogy, Leslie. I'm glad I found the right turn, too:) (That is, I hope it was the right turn...)

Liesl Shurtliff said...

So glad I could talk you from the ledge. And yes, I have been there myself and I'm sure I'll be there again. Can't wait to read Clyde!

Krista Van Dolzer said...

Liesl, I'm so glad, too:) I'll definitely get in touch when I'm ready for round two!