Stuck in the mire of self doubt at the moment. Working on polishing up my next sub but am doubting basically everything about it. At least the thing I’m pretty sure I’ve got right is the emotional connection between my characters – at least, I think I have. Famous last words huh? And if that’s not bad enough, I now have to write the suckopsis and that is filling me with gloom. The ed takes my synopses very seriously so it has to be right. Another reason to stress.

I think my process is not helping me sadly. I am a pantser. Yes, I do have a vague idea about plot and characters but often the characters don’t settle for me until I’m halfway through the ms. Sometimes I’ll write a quick and dirty draft, realise it’s utter pants while I’m editing it and then figure out a better way for the plot to go. Sometimes this takes me through several drafts before I get it right. The problem with this of course is that if I am editing a ms I’ve already subbed the partial of, I can’t go back and change those first three chapters, which is often the part of the ms that changes the most. This happened with the last sub. In the process of editing the story, I realised what was missing from those first three chapters and hoped I’d be asked for the rest so I could go back and change it to match the rest of the story. Sadly not.

Clearly, with a process like mine, I need to finish and edit the ms completely before I send a partial. Which makes it difficult because if you’re asked to revise, revisions are much more easily incorporated into a draft than a finished, polished ms. Plus there’s the whole worry about expending a lot of effort on an idea that won’t work at all for the editor.

Of course, the ideal for me – since I find that I can’t treat a partial in isolation from the rest of the ms – would be just to sub the full straight off. Cue hollow laughter. Yeah like that will happen. πŸ™‚

Anyway, how about the NV competition? So many great entries! Going to press ahead with IT Girl at least. It would be fabulous if she got through to the next round but if not, I’ll sub her anyway. But first I have to write the whole thing so I can get to know her better. πŸ™‚

24 thoughts on “Stuck”

  1. Hey, Jackie. Yeah, it’s rough going. I know. πŸ™

    But, on the upside, it IS possible to work with your particular process. It’s similar to mine, and I subbed what I thought was a fully realized, polished MS, and then had to do scads of revisions…that was HVA. So it sucks in some ways (especially when you’re rewriting and that’s more dirty drafty and parts are uber polished) but it’s possible.

    It’s all possible…even when it doesn’t feel like it.

  2. Lacey – *repeats mantra* Thanks m’dear. That helps. What doesn’t is when one’s idea for the next sub is shot down without even a request for the partial. πŸ™ Oh well, I guess the pain is short and sharp instead of being long and drawn out. And hey? Whaddya know? I’ve got another sub. πŸ˜‰

  3. Bugger πŸ™ Lovin’ the attitude though. Here’s were all those extra manuscripts come in handy. Just submit them all at the same time (no, I don’t care that they tell you not to do that). They’ll have to say yes then πŸ˜‰

  4. Huge hugs Jackie. I feel your pain.
    But what Lacey said…you are a legend. This is all prep work and Lara Croft ammo to your future.

    I know you will truck on because you are made of stronger stuff.

    IT Girl rocks.
    So keep cool and keep that faith!

  5. You are fabulous, you know that right? But I know how loudly those crows can get… Am hearing them loud and clear myself. And would LOVE LOVE for IT girl to get through to rounds two πŸ™‚

  6. Hey Jackie,
    As a fellow pantser I hear your dilemma, and as a less experienced writer I have no clue what to say that would be helpful! lol!

    How are your NV nerves holding up?
    I’d just like it to to be over now, this whole roses rating system is a bit of a nightmare isn’t it? Even though it doesn’t count, that doesn’t seem to stop me from being bothered, you know?
    So many entries, and some serious talent out there – and I bet there will be a big flurry at the end.
    Glad to hear you are going to write IT girl regardless of how the comp pans out – but, hand on heart, I am certain that you will HAVE to sub chapter 2 for the next round anyway.
    You really set the bar high Jackie, good luck.

  7. Joanne – Awww, you’re a sweetie! NV? NTANV (to quote Lorraine!). πŸ™‚ Yeah, I reckon a lot people will try and upload at the last second to avoid comments, so there’s bound to be a lot more. I don’t envy the eds at all.
    BTW, your chapter was pretty superb Miss, so you might be too! Well, whatever happens, IT Girl will have her day. πŸ™‚

    Caroline – thanks m’dear! Hugs back. Thought your Roman was excellent. πŸ™‚

  8. The self doubt sucks. As writers, I think we all go through it. I’m a pantser too, so I can feel your frustration. But we just have to work with our process like Maisey pointed out. IMHO, it might take a bit longer to sub your partial, but I agree that the best way sounds like editing your whole ms first since it changes when you get to the end anyway. I’m also not as experienced with writing as you, so this is just my opinion of course πŸ™‚

    Like the others, I think IT girl is a winner. Not long for the outcome now *big gulp*

  9. Angie – yeah, I know! Nerve-wracking. πŸ™‚ Well, I think that’s the way I’m going to have to work – write the whole thing first. Have to curb my impatience though – I hate waiting!

  10. Hi Jackie, I’m primarily a pantster too, and I think that doing revisions on a polished ms is no more difficult than doing revisions on a draft. In both cases you have to go back through the story and work out what works and what doesn’t and alter accordingly. The thing I hate is having to do the synopsis before you’ve written the story. This for me is major suckdom, and I try to avoid it by writing the story first then attacking the synopsis!
    You’re still doing FAB over at NV I see, and I’ve given you a hurrah over on my blog today, where I’m cheerleading for the minxes.

  11. I’m not a pantser, though I was once, in the days before I discovered how much easier it was to get the book right by sitting down and actually planning it in advance. Seven published novels later, I can still recommend the slightly dull and methodical ‘plan your book before starting to write it’ approach above the more creatively free but prone to sudden inspiration-failure ‘okay that was fun, but what happens next?’ approach.

    We’re all different, of course, but if you have to produce a synopsis early on, why not go all the way and plan your book in depth? It might be worth trying at least once, if only to see whether it might work better for you than the pantser approach.

  12. Just keep reminding yourself that each book is a learning experience. You’re developing as a writer. Give yourself a pat on the back for how much you’ve learned in a short amount of time.

    I was a devoted pantser for years. I’d start something, finish something, all in the rosy fog of creative energy.

    And then I’d rewrite. And rewrite. And rewrite.

    These days, I get an idea and write a blurb. Nothing like condensing an idea into less than 50 words to see if you’ve got something.

    I still pants the rest of the of the book, but I know the H/H core conflict and what’s keeping them apart. Sometimes the reason changes as I get to know them, but the driving conflict sees me through.

    I’m not saying I’m revision free. Hardly, but I’m not throwing out half the book either.

  13. Sally – yeah, you’re probably right re revs, though it’s mainly a mind thing for me. Revs with a draft tend to be easier because the story isn’t ‘set’ in my mind yet. But maybe I just need to get over that. Totally with you on the suckopsis!
    Thanks for the shout out – you’re a doll!

    Jane – lol! Yeah, I should do more re planning. Hey, I do already in many ways. I plan the conflict first and the backstory which is waaaay more than I ever used to. But I do find that even if I do a synopsis first, after writing half of it, the story changes completely as a better idea occurs to me. Makes things difficult. πŸ™‚

    Cat – yes, indeed, that sounds exactly the way I work nowadays. I have got into the habit of working out the conflict first which is a huge help. However that did not seem to help with the last R. Even with the conflict (which the ed liked), the book didn’t work. Or should I say, the 3 chapters didn’t work. Yes, still smarting. πŸ˜‰

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