Writing when it's hard . . . - Sarah Woodbury

Writing when it’s hard . . .

kb tiny“Here’s what it starts to be like for me somewhere in the midsection of a novel:

(1) I’ve written the beginning, but I’m pretty sure it’s a pile of crap.

(2) The end, when I even dare to contemplate it, feels as far away as Uranus.

(3) The prose I’m writing right now, here in the middle, sounds like a stiff little busybody who’s sat down too hard on a nettle.

(4) I’ve discovered that my plot, even if it’s an engaging plot, has sections that are not engaging to write, and I’m bogged down in those doldrums sections, when all I want is to move on to the exciting parts that are just ahead but I can’t, not until I’ve written the parts that will get me there. Boring!

(5) The house is strewn with post-it notes on which are written about a gazillion important reminders of things I must somehow remember to find a way to weave into the novel at some point, although, where, I can’t imagine. Some of the post-it notes are written hastily in a code I have since forgotten. (“He is temperamentally sweet, but dangerous, like Jake.” That would be very helpful, if I had the slightest idea to whom “he” refers, or if I knew anyone named Jake.)

(6) Worst of all, whenever I take a step back and try to examine objectively this unstructured mess that is half created and half still living in my head and heart and hope (and on a gazillion post-it notes)… I get this horrible, sinking feeling that my novel isn’t actually about anything.”

Other authors can be so helpful!  I would be surprised if any author didn’t feel this way, at least occasionally, and from what I understand, most feel this way often.  It gives me hope that it’s not just me out there in the wilderness 🙂

2 Replies to “Writing when it’s hard . . .”

  1. Hi Sarah,
    Although I can perfectly well understand the feelings you describe, I still have a hard time imagining YOU in that situation, considering the pace at which you are writing and for which I’m extremely grateful, because otherwise an essential part of my life as a reader would be a veritable black hole.
    I have just got used to the fact that David has grown up and tells his own story in Warden of Time, and it scares me like hell that one of my heroes is having panic attacks (which sadly I know only too well). I had just found some comfort in reading the latest Gareth and Gwen mystery when I reached the point where Rhun borrowed Gareth’s helmet… and I realized that something really bad was going to happen. Okay, I should have been aware that we were going to lose Rhun sooner or later as a matter of course, since he is a historical character. But as he had just begun to play more than a supporting role, I dearly miss him now. To cut a long story short: I can’t wait to start reading Guardian of Time this Weekend – thank you so much for writing and being so quick about it!

    1. I am so glad you wrote me. I share all your feelings, and I am so happy that you’ve enjoyed my books. The Lost Brother was a very hard book to write–certainly putting my characters through hard times is something that is both necessary and painful! I love them too! I do hope you enjoy Guardians–I really think you will.
      All the best,

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