Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Digging Out of the Hole

I’m working on the second book in my Jewish contemporary romance series and I got myself stuck. Really stuck. You know the idea of the sagging middle? Where you slog through, but nothing really happens? It’s the equivalent of watching paint dry. Well, that’s where I’ve been for a couple of weeks now.

My characters are no longer talking to me. I’m inventing things for the to do just to get from point A to point B, where I have a great, pivotal scene planned. I’m getting bored. And if I’m getting bored, the reader is going to get bored too.

I spent some time thinking and I realized what the problem was. I needed a better handle on who my characters were and what their goals and motivations were. I’ve made notes, and I know how to fix things. But it requires going back to the beginning and adding some key things.

And for that, I need time. I don’t have the time now. My kids are home and I just don’t have the uninterrupted time to devote to the book right now. So, for the moment, I’m focusing on the other story I’ve been writing—that’s one of the benefits I’ve found of working on two projects simultaneously. Once the kids go back to school, I’ll devote my time to the sequel.


  1. It sounds like working on two projects at a time is working for you, Jen!

  2. Keep at it, Jen. If I'm stuck like that I sometimes skip that part and work on the part I 'know'. I've been known to write the end of the story first...or at least before the middle!

    And I agree with Ana, it sounds like having two projects is working for you. I'm not sure if I could tackle two at a time...most of the time I have enough trouble handling one!

    Good luck!

  3. I got to the same point with my Lakeland vet story, Jen. Even after two attempts at a rewrite, I still felt it wasn't working.
    I know exactly what you mean about inventing things for the characters to do while you get them from A to B. Sometimes those 'extra' things can actually lead to a development in the story (my Elvis-singing Nile boatman was an example of this!) but other times, you're aware that you're simply 'filling in time'.
    I abandoned the story (at least temporarily) and started my Ireland story instead. While I've been writing that, I've had some more ideas about the other story - so I'll be going back to that once I've finished editing Irish Inheritance!

  4. It will all come together. For me right now, it's the sagging end! Due to health reasons etc., my writing has been on hold. I have nearly the entire third book in my Fire Through Time trilogy to write. I had to stop beating myself up over it though - no guilt. Give your time and energy to the most important and present thing in your life right now, whatever that may be, and the rest will follow. If you love writing you won't be able to help but finish. Good luck.

  5. Ana, I'm not sure I'll always work on two at a time, but this time around, yes, it's working.

    Thanks Denise!

    Debra, I have a bunch of completed major scenes that are just waiting for me to connect to the rest of the story--it's so frustrating not being there yet!

    Paula, good luck with the vet story. It's helpful to have something in the back of your head--oftentimes your subconscious helps you out!

    Thanks for the encouragement, Wendy! I appreciate it.