Sunday, 24 May 2009

Middleitis

I don't believe in writer's block.

I believe in hard work, discipline, and long hours spent learning the craft of writing. I believe in lots of feedback, lots of reading, lots of research.

I don't believe in sitting down and just waiting for inspiration to strike, because that road you'll never get anything done.

Having said that, since finishing my first self-published book, I've been experiencing something perilously close to writer's block.

I'm currently trying to re-write my manuscript from NaNoWriMo 2008. I sat down and plotted this story, point by point, in October; I got about three-quarters of the way through the plot, and then November hit and I threw plotting to the winds and just wrote. This worked excellently in November, and it was great to have that outline ahead of me, showing the way, guiding me... until the plot points ended.

I've tried. I have tried. I've stared at my screen for hours, written possible plot points on paper, gone to cafes to meditate on my story, asked others for feedback and ideas, and even gone to sleep thinking about my story in the hopes that I will dream what happens next. Sadly, none of these seem to have worked, although I've been having some weird dreams lately.

I don't need an ending. I know the ending. I know the start, and most of the middle. I just don't know... how to get to the ending. I have middleitis, and I'm worried this is where I find out I have an intrinsically flawed plot.

I'm not giving up. I don't want another unfinished manuscript to add to the pile. Not to mention, this is the first one that I (still) feel has potential. I'm not looking for perfection; all I want is a complete story. That's all. Get it finished, then go back later and work out the kinks.

Of course, what makes this interesting is the fact that my voucher expires at the end of May; so I have just under a week to finish a manuscript (that I don't yet know the plot for), format it, and design a cover. Ye gods.

Does anyone have any suggestions on how I could get ideas to finish the plot? What I'm considering at the moment is the Nike approach: just do it. Start writing. Don't allow myself to wait for the perfect middle. Who knows, my characters may even show me the way to the middle.

We'll see.

2 comments:

Ange said...

Ummm...the nike approach sounds good. You could try working form the ending backwards, since you know it. Working out how they get to that stage, paragraph by paragraph,backwards ;)

Btw I hope your trip was nice.

Anthony said...

Ange has a great point. I've come up with ideas by starting near the end and working backward, or from some random point in the middle. While writing said random point, I'd think, "Hey, why don't I make this happen. . .yeah, yeah, that'd explain why this happens. Oh that's good. . ." and so on.

I second that notion.