Okay. I'm just going to say it's a beautiful sunny day here, and quite warm. That will either inspire you to think warm thoughts and bring a smile to your face or curse me under your breath.
If you've been at this writing gig for any length of time, you've probably got quite a collection of 'how-to' books on your shelf. I do. Most of them are gathering dust, put down after a few pages in favor of a tall glass of wine and a weeks worth of wallowing. Too much information is not always a good thing.
I love to read, but I confess, non-fiction does not interest me in the slightest. It's going to have to be a pretty darn interesting topic to keep me reading. You would think books about writing would do it, no? No.
Unfortunately, I have an attention-span the size of a pea, and quite possibly undiagnosed ADD. I can't focus on the words long enough for them to make sense to me. Which is why, every so often, when I'm tearing my hair out because my story has gone completely off the rails and I've no idea how to get it back on track, I'll haul those books out and give it another go. I do have some faves.
Writing the Breakout Novel - Donald Maas
Plot and Structure - James Scott Bell - anything by JSB actually, and woe is me because I think I left my JSB books in Canada last summer!! If it gets really bad I may have to resort to the Kindle versions.
Getting Into Character - Brandilyn Collins.
Okay, that's a short list. There are more. Tons more. Did you know there is even a Writing Fiction for Dummies book? Yes, I have it. No, I have not read it.
Ah, but you say, you are soon to hold your first published novel in your hands! You must be doing something right!
Why thank, you. You're so sweet.
But the sad truth is, I have NO idea what I'm doing.
Ha. Okay, that's a lie. But it took me a LONG time to get here. And when I pick up all these wonderfully written books on how to write a wonderfully written book, I break out in a cold sweat.
Because I don't think I can do it again. The Self Doubt Monster is alive and well, and he lives under my desk.
Often, when I'm completely stuck on a manuscript, like I am today, I take him out and feed him. Play with him a while. But he bites.
He's not a fun pet to own, and I'd like to give him away, but nobody wants him.
So here I sit, three quarters of the way through a 100K novel that until yesterday I believed was my next great masterpiece, and I'm completely stumped.
I'm not giving advice today. I'm asking for it.
Where do you go when you get to this point? How do you fix your story? Do you have any specific books or authors who give great advice on getting unstuck?
Give me your best advice.
Oh and if anyone wants to brainstorm, I'm ready and willing. Just bring a pillow and a blanket, it'll be a long night.