Trying to finish the damn book (Writing Ray)

I’ve not spoke too much about this recently on the new blog but in case you didn’t know- I’m writing a book.

It’s been rather a strange process and has dominated my thoughts for a good portion of the year. Despite my hilariously naive predictions of having the first draft finished by June I am still around 20-25K words away from having it completed. More irritatingly the remaining scenes to be written are not at the end of the book like they would be for a sensible person who wrote their book in a linear fashion, but they are from the start of the book moving into the middle.

I was a bit of an idiot and the first scene I actually wrote for the book was is effectively the Act One closer scene when my two main characters first cross paths in a rather dramatic fashion. The scene I wrote after that was from around the end of act two (although I still have to properly delineate where the different acts start and end) and then I kept writing from there until I got to the end of the book. So I now have over 70K of a novel with very little middle and I’m struggling to fill the gap.

I have vague outlines of what I think is going to happen in those 12 or so scenes I have left but now I have the issue of actually sitting down and writing them. I find myself doubting the whole book more now than I did way back in January and February and when I re-read scenes I wrote months ago to help me figure out where things are meant to be going I find myself either groaning at the ridiculousness of some of my phrasing or facepalming over the places where I’ve forgotten words or simply changed details about the world or character after the fact.

None of this is very conducive to actually getting writing done. I know a lot of writers are susceptible to self-doubt and that little voice at the back of your mind can be very insidious when it wants to be. Mine certainly is – last month I read a brilliant YA fantasy novel (The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski) and when I finished it I was agonising over the fact that the sequel wasn’t going to be out until March ┬ánext year. I was marvelling over how amazing the book was when that stupid little voice piped up “Your book will never be this good” and BAM I was thrown head-first into a pit of self-loathing that would have lasted for god knows how long if not for some of the excellent friends I have who dug me out.

Coming back from that has been slow-going and I’ve never got back to the level of output I had in the first quarter of the year. It can take me hours and hours to write even 500 words when I had evenings when I bashed out over a 1000 words in something like an hour and a half. I worry that if I don’t have at least a complete first draft by the end of this year that I won’t finish it all, that I’ll get so distracted by the two OU modules I’m doing (A215 alone is going to require me to write thousands of words of prose/poetry that are not for my novel) that I won’t come back to my book for so long that every scrap of interest I had for it has disappeared when I eventually do open up the Scrivener file again.

So what do I do to keep myself going? I’m struggling to keep myself focused on prepping for my OU modules at the moment so doing stuff for something I’m not paying a couple of grand to do is a little lower on the list of priorities. Well, it should be yet all I have done in the past two days is hand-write stuff for a scene from my novel. I might get that finished this week or it might get left hanging three quarters done like the rest of the damn book.

How do you go about finishing a book? Without running screaming in fear of your own writing?

It’s been one of those days when I ask myself tricky questions

Toodles

Ray