I will be the first to admit that I was struggling to write the newest Mik Murdoch novel. I had a number of false starts including one where I wrote over 3,000 words before I realized just how slow everything was moving. That got me really thinking about the story and what I wanted to achieve with it.
Except, I wasn’t getting any new ideas. I was just regurgitating all the old ideas. Nothing new was coming to mind.
Overcoming the Problem
I had to tear the story right down to the ground and start again almost from the beginning. The false starts didn’t mean the concept for the story was wrong. Just how I was going about telling it.
The solution turned out to be a number of long walks and thoroughly plotting the first four chapters. That work gave me a new starting point; one that puts the characters more into the story without all the introductory narrative. I know I can put those elements I’m skipping over into the story at later points without losing anything.
How I Know I’m on the Right Track
I knew I was on the right track when I sat down and wrote most of the first chapter in a single sitting. It moved more quickly and will get the readers invested in the story sooner. I also discovered that I was getting new ideas to bubbling up. New directions and problems for the characters to overcome. Both, very good things (having a story that is too linear can be both too predictable and boring).
Prior to this, the ideas weren’t coming at all and the writing was a real slog. I ended up throwing 7,000 words away.
The Current Issue
The frustration I’m facing now is, I have all these ideas and there are too many other things making demands on my time. I haven’t been able to spend as much time writing as I want. Still, I know the story is there and the new ways to make it better are almost continuously popping into my head.
It’s a much better place to be.