May 20th, 2011

crossed heart

sometimes a breakdown is all it takes

Originally published at Cassie Alexander. You can comment here or there.

Much love to everyone who read or responded to my frustrated cry for help yesterday on livejournal. I was at my wits end.

I spent five hours this afternoon crafting a perfect (very necessary) 1500 word scene and then realized I'd hit the end -- the end of where I could dogpaddle, and where I started needing some serious help. I had three plot things that were all just going out of control and I couldn't see how best to make them interlace at the end, and to keep going on would have been suicidal to this book.

Help came in the form of a phonecall with my alpha reader, for about an hour tonight. I told him all the things I was scared of happening, my high speed novel going off the rails. He listened and offered great suggestions, and really reframed things for the parts where I'd gotten myself into a corner.

If I hack out a subthread I hadn't gotten to yet, and simplify another (in a way I figured out that actually makes it cooler, go me), and then rewrite this one character's relationships to my protag for the entire book so that at the ending their entire thread feels earned....

It can be done. The plots intertwine. I can get to the end of the line and haul the stagecoach over, not kill any horses, and still deliver the mail...or something ;).

I have a hell of a lot of work ahead of me...again. Surprise surprise. But I was looking at my scene-outline excel spreadsheet (which I use to chart scenes as I go, mind you, not ahead of time...maybe someday I'll reach that level of coordination) and I moved around scenes to put in work that still needs to be done, and bolded some stuff that needs writing-from-scratch-writing. It's not undoable. Frustrating as hell still? Oh yes. But navigable. If I do what needs doing...it'll really be done this time, not placeholders, but done for real. (I should check over my shoulder for some sort of falling tree or lightning bolt when I say that!)

And so the panic recedes like a tide, and I'm back at that, "Oh yeah, World? Bring it." stage, thank god. I can take some pressure -- and there's still time pressure -- I may not be able to have much fun at Wiscon this year -- but it's not at a constant 11 anymore...more like a manageable 8, heh.

Phew.