Walking on, walking on broken glass

So. Remember how I made a goal to have a finished draft of the new WIP completed by July 1? Ummm … yeah. About that.

I’m right around the halfway mark on it, and things have felt a bit off for a couple weeks now. I blamed fatigue caused by a hectic schedule, I chalked it up to the midway blues that always seem to befall me, I wondered if I needed to do more research. Basically I did everything in my power to ignore the truth that was bubbling there right below the surface. This WIP was broken. It wasn’t until I stood before my critique group to read aloud the chapter where I knew I’d gotten off course that I admitted there was a problem.

I might be making things sound more dire than they are. All I really need to do is make my character’s motivation stronger (although this does involve coming up with a new primary motivation and making the one I have now a secondary motivation). I can probably keep 75% of what I’ve already written, and I did know right off the bat the direction I needed to go in. The question then became: Do I go back and fix it now, or do I power through and do it later? I’m choosing the former. But either way, July 1 is off the table. This thing will be done when it’s done.

Have any of you experienced something similar? Did you immediately fix the problems or wait until you had a finished draft?

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20 Responses

  1. Susan says:

    That’s probably the best way to look at it: This will be done when it’s done. I’m definitely having to adjust my own goal-setting approach for my WIP. No more August 1 deadline either… ๐Ÿ˜€

    • Meredith says:

      I think sometimes having a hard deadline can have the opposite effect, especially when you’re forcing it. Always better to let it happen organically. And even though I KNOW this, I always seem to forget it. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Holly says:

    Yep, I’ve definitely been there. I think it’s smart to go ahead and fix it if you can already see how — it’ll make writing the rest easier and more enjoyable. ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Rima says:

    Yeah, of course I’ve been there! I say go back and fix it now, and trash the hard deadline. Write a bit every day and go with the flow!

  4. I think we’ve all been in this boat. If I start getting bored, I know I have a problem and I have to backtrack. (Unless it’s nanowrimo and then I just run with it.)

  5. Absolutely, I’ve been there. Fixing it now is probably the best thing because the changes you made could have little repercussions throughout the whole book, and you can avoid getting too tangled up in what it is vs. what you think it should be.

    • Meredith says:

      That was my thought too. I don’t want to press forward, only to find out at the end I have 80,000 words I need to redo instead of only 30,000.

  6. This is all great advice, and it’s very telling that everyone else has been there.

    I just went through and found new character worksheets online, because I’d gotten feedback that my two POV voices weren’t coming across as unique enough. For me, finding a new character worksheet helped me focus more on their motivations. ALSO- just to go ahead and leave the longest comment known to man, I read here (http://playingbeethoven.blogspot.com/) this really nice nugget for character motivation:

    Every character has a hole in their heart that makes them who they are. What is this for your character, and how does this motivate them?

  7. Meredith says:

    I love that, Katharine! It’s so true. I think I’m going to go look for some new character worksheet as well. I have a pretty good idea of what my character’s motivation needs to be, but I’ll take anything that will help me get down into the nitty-gritty. Thanks!

  8. If 75% of it can be kept, I’d say keep on writing with the new motivations in mind, and fix all the old stuff during revisions. Good luck making a decision! ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. J E Fritz says:

    I’m going through that right now! I’m not as far along as you (a little over halfway) and when I had trouble with the rest of the story, I realized it was because the MC wasn’t as strong as I liked. I know it’s cliche, but sometimes you have to go back to go forward. It seems to be working out for me ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. Pam Harris says:

    I just had this problem w/ my most recent WIP. What I did was print out what I had written so far and wrote notes, so that when I wrote the 2nd half, I already had an idea of the direction I needed to take it. ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. Trisha says:

    My revision goals have been gathering dust for the last month ๐Ÿ˜‰ I’ve taken a break to focus on just writing for June.

  12. Like Madeline said, if you can keep 75% of what you’ve written I would continue from this point on and act as if you’d implemented the necessary changes but I also like Pam’s idea of rereading and making notes before going on to write the rest.

  13. I think fixing it now will help you get to know your main character better, and make the rest easier to write. I believe in making goals to finish, but it seems like they often need to be revised, too! : )

  14. I’ve already have two deadlines fall through this year, both for month-long challenges. I didn’t have enough planning.

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