Wednesday 3 April 2013

If it's definitely broke, do you fix it?

Karen Wiesner's awesome planning
guide.  I will blame her if I don't
finish ... seems fair.
As some of you might know, I finalled in the 2012 GH contest.   I'm still drinking wine to celebrate that achievement (although, I do admit the appropriate celebration time has probably expired).     Reading back on my entry, I have to say I still like it.  It's a really solid 50 pages.  Heck, I would even go as far to say the first 100 are quite good.   The other 300 pages though?  Pretty much a mess.

I did try to edit it .. repeatedly.   But after a year of work I finally realized I was doing a lot more work "avoiding" the manuscript than writing it.  My house was exeptionally clean during this bleak period ... my toilet gleamed while my writing desk sat and waited for me to find my way back.    Even though I wasn't writing, I still wasn't sure if I should quit.  Quitting the ms and putting it on the backburner seemed like a bad idea.  What about all those agents and editors I met at conference that I promised the manuscript to?  What about finishing what I started?  What about learning to push through all the tough middle part?     And to make matters worse, I'd done this once before with this manuscript. I put it aside once before and worked on something new, only to give up on the new manuscript once I got to the middle.  I was afraid I was going to just repeat the same mistake.

After much soul-searching at the end of 2012,  I finally made the decision to put my GH manuscript on the backburner.  I still think it's a good story, but I have lots to do to make it great ... and I decided I needed some distance to get it to greatness.   I also decided to work on something brand new that I was excited about.   And in order to ensure I don't fall into the same pattern of failure again, I decided to give "First Draft in 30 Days" a go .... try to work out all my plot problems before I write the book so I'm not stuck in the middle wavering. 

I just finished my outline of my new manuscript.  It took longer than 30 days (it took 90 if you want to know the truth) ... but I feel really good about it.   I got stuck in many of the same places I did previously, but somehow pushing through an outline is a lot easier than pushing through a half-written novel (go figure).

And now I'm onto the scary part.  Writing it.  I'll be keeping track of my progress on the right rail so you'll all know how I'm doing.  Fingers crossed I get through this one!!


  1. Nikki, I have a bunch of unfinished, half-finished, half-baked stories floating around in various forms from years past (even a couple saved on floppy discs) I think it's part of the learning process for a lot of writers.

    I have my fingers crossed for you. ( by the way, you looked really hot tonight - and that's really the most important thing, isn't it?)

  2. Ah, floppy disks!! Remember how cool those were?

    And thanks for the "hot" comment ... it definitely is the most important ...