Officially in No Man’s Land

I have hit the mushy middle, no question. I had to re-write a pivotal scene that I had conceived of one way, then changed my mind about when I wrote it out the first time, then changed my mind back and had to go back and re-write it the way I had originally intended. I thought maybe that was why I was balking at going forward – nope. Still feel like my wheels are spinning molasses instead of turf. Ergo, at 21,205, I am through the beginning and into hell.

And, though there are plot elements that will be more interesting to me, this is exactly the sort of hellish hell that I hate writing in and that I judge a lot of romance authors for avoiding – the delves into family and friendship dynamics that are absolutely necessary for two people sharing their actual lives with one another, but which are fucking hard and ungratifying to write because you have to come up with personalities and situations with secondary characters who aren’t important and aren’t serving a function except to ground the reader in the life of the character. It’s a lot of details to imagine and research and keep straight for very little emotional payout. If I could skip them, I would, but I would imagine the first time a man brings his wife home to his family, it’s a big deal. It’s just…not a big thing plotwise with these two crazy kids.

So this is where my lack of specific roadmap gets me in trouble. Suddenly the road I’m driving, that I know I’m not turning off of till the other side of the mountains, just got reeeeaal scenic and cut-back-y and tedious. Hhhhhhh. I was not expecting this! This is totally going to kill my average! Etc.

And that whole write the next sentence thing? Yeah, not so easy when you have no idea what, if anything, is supposed to happen in the scene. I really hate re-doing work–it’s so…INEFFICIENT (the dirtiest word an INTJ knows!)–so I would rather not just forge ahead wasting time and words to figure out what happens by writing it, only to realize halfway through that something else needed to happen and then I just wasted all that time and all those words and goddamnit now I am back where I started only behind because I wasted so much time. But it’s hard to concentrate on what happens next when it’s just boring family stuff. Bridge stuff. Barf. But I am not sure I can skip it, either. Should I just pull a Morgenstern? “What with one thing and another, five weeks passed. Back in London…”


Well…you know what they say. The best way out of hell is through the other side. Guess it’s time to put on my military-issue combat boots and flame-retardant latex and make this section my bitch.

Or go down in flames trying.



Filed under Housekeeping, Writing

2 responses to “Officially in No Man’s Land

  1. ABE

    I hear your pain! It often goes with the territory.

    You said, “just boring family stuff. Bridge stuff. Barf. But I am not sure I can skip it, either.”

    Would it help if you went to your last chapter, or your climax, or your very last scene – or even to an imaginary epilogue – and asked how the information you are having trouble writing is ESSENTIAL for getting to the end?

    You always put in a bit more than the essentials, but you only need to cover the essential stuff to get to the end.

    I read somewhere that Margaret Mitchell wrote GWTW back to front. My guess is that it is more like revised or polished than wrote that way, but it makes sense. You’ve created a mess (that’s your job), and now you have to write everything to clean up the mess by the end of the book – so dump anything that doesn’t lead to the end you want. But you should already know where you’re going.

    • Hm. Going to the end to see how this element threaded into it is an interesting perspective. I’ll give it some thought.

      I think the problem I’m having is that I’m not sure it directly affects the STORY. It is simply….real-life stuff that it’s not realistic to ignore or leave out, and it’s stuff that would have an emotional impact, albeit a tangential one, on the main characters. I think I’m beginning to see why so many romance novels happen on some fabulous adventure…so the authors don’t have to deal with this kind of shit! lol

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