Getting Over a Writing Obstacle

Whew! This weekend I got over a big writing obstacle that was keeping me crazed for the last several months.

(Well, really, I haven’t been writing over the last several months because it’s been the holidays, and my focus is quite usually elsewhere from Thanksgiving to New Year’s.)

But anyway, my Fin and Giselle story STILL has no ending, and has been sitting sort of stagnant on my computer because there was something about it I didn’t like. I couldn’t pinpoint exactly what it was, but I knew it was contributing to my inability to end it properly. I finally decided that the problem showed up around Chapter 14 — about at the 40% mark. I rewrote Chapter 14 once in October, another time in November, but still wasn’t happy.

But over the weekend, I reread a previous part and had a sort of light-bulb moment. I went back to the original copy (grrr. Hate it when that happens. But I save all my cut scenes in a “Deleted Scenes” file, just in case. Someday I may make short stories out of all that stuff!) And then I rewrote parts of the original scene with some greater internal monologue that I think made the story better. I’ve also introduced two new characters in this second draft that are causing me a bit of grief now, but I think they work better, too. They brought some extra conflict into this middle portion of the book — and more conflict in the traditionally “sagging middle” is always welcome, right?

So … onward toward the ending!

And sorry to ramble in a way that probably makes no sense. I feel like I’m speaking in code. But, as I’ve mentioned before, that’s the problem with writing — you get a little lost in a world that makes sense only to you. But this weekend felt like a great breakthrough — I just wanted to share!

For those of you who are writers out there, how do you get over writing obstacles?

The Ever-Important First Five Pages

So I was writing over at Popculture Divas last week (new URL, by the way: I wrote about favorite first lines of novels, which is a topic I covered here, too, but it’s a topic I never tire of. (If you never tire of it either, please go over to Popculture Divas and leave me a comment!)

Anyway, it’s particularly on my mind lately because I’m studying my own first lines of the manuscripts I’ve written — studying first five pages, really.

The first five pages are of huge importance to a novel. Noah Lukeman even wrote about this in a how-to book called The First Five Pages, which I read (although I found it almost too basic. I guess I wanted something more).

The reason the first five pages are of such importance to writers is two-fold: for one, they’re important to your reader. Publishers say that readers often open a book in a book store, scan the first page or two, then make their buying decision. With Amazon, readers do the same thing with a click of a button, scanning the first few pages, then deciding if they like the style enough to read the whole thing.

But the first five pages are also of enormous importance when a writer is trying to sell a manuscript. Continue reading

Spouses as Beta Readers

So sorry I haven’t been blogging much this week, but I’m hot and heavy into edits on my second book. I finally finished editing the first part enough to have my first beta reader — Superman!

It’s always nervewracking to have someone beta-read your book for the very first time, but I think it’s especially nervewracking to have your spouse read.

I get more nervous about Superman reading my manuscripts than anyone. I just want him to like them so desperately, and I worry he’s going to think they’re corny or too over-the-top, or raise his eyebrow at the love scenes, or … I don’t know. I just get really nervous.

So I’m working hard this week to give it one last polish as I feed him sections. So far I think he’s on Chapter 7. … And he keeps asking for more, so I think things are good. 

How about you? Do you let your spouse beta-read for you? Does it make you unbearably nervous?

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