This weekend was all about Pitch Wars, or more specifically, making needed changes to SHADE to get it ready for the final round of Pitch Wars. But good gracious, was SHADE frustrating the jujubes out of me!
I had lots of ideas, but was lacking in the rights ones for the first chapter. I know I could work on other parts of the book in the meantime to give myself a rest (and I did do a little outlining) but here’s the thing for me: I have to have at least scaffolding up in the beginning so I can see where the story is going in later chapters. Editing is like time traveling, alter one thing and the future may be completely different.
A lot of changes hinged on the first chapter, hence the frustration. Something I like to do when I need to change up a scene, is outline a bunch of different possibilities and see where they lead. It’s kind of like pantsing before the writing. I follow the path until I hit a roadblock, something that must be altered in the future to make sense. Then I have to decide if I want the story to head in that direction or not.
Now this isn’t my first fight with a story. This is usually what happens and certainly what happened over the summer. So I knew eventually something good would come of it. But it was getting frustrating, I think, because Saturday was my big free day for writing and as the evening wore on and I realized I probably wouldn’t get beyond Chapter One, my frustration level rose as well.
The trouble is it’s hard to ask for any kind of advice on these sorts of things. Who knows your story better than you?
Needless to say, after more than 12 hours of struggle, I pulled something out, some scaffolding I’m fairly satisfied with. It was odd, because it was a direction I’d wanted to implement over the summer, but it never quite came out, so I didn’t go with it. This time I think it may work better and will make my MC’s reactions a little more logical.
So the struggle, in the end, was worth it.
Fortunately I have the day off work tomorrow for New Year’s, so hopefully I can move forward in more significant ways—at least significant in writing vs. plotting. There may be another struggle ahead, but the nice thing about overcoming one challenge is you know it’s possible to defeat the next one.
Have you had any struggles in your writing lately that frustrated you to the max? What do you do when you have a challenge you need to overcome? If you ask friends for advice, what do you find is the best way to ask for it?