Writing the Impossible Book
Sometimes you think of an amazing story with fantastic characters. When you sit down to write the story, it flows like wine and goes down so easy. You revel in that incredible feeling of accomplishment. The story just works and you know it’s going to be wonderful.
And then, there are those books that… well, just don’t. The characters are interesting, the story idea is excellent, but then when you put your fingers to the keyboard… nothing. Writing this story is like watching sludge drip from a faucet in drips and globs and it’s disgusting and sometimes it just plain old stinks.
But you know the story has merit. You know the characters are right. “Why isn’t this working?” you scream to the heavens, or your computer, or, more likely, to yourself in your own mind because you don’t want anyone around you to think you’re nuts for talking to no one.
I recently had this “lovely” experience with a novella I was writing.
I knew I wanted to redeem the villain of my Royals & Rebels series, but honestly, how do you redeem someone who tried to kill his family members and nearly succeeded? (sorry… I don’t want to give away who the villain is just in case you decide you want to read that series—I keep you guessing through all three books as to who the villain is. <g>) Well, the answer is that it’s really hard to redeem such a person and therefore, it’s really hard to make them a loveable, heroic character and to write their story.
So, how do you write the story that just doesn’t want to be written?
I fall back on my story and character analysis. I use my worksheets to go through who these characters are, what they want and why. I write paragraphs as to why the characters are not only wonderful people, but why the hero and heroine need to be together (I write romance), as well as why they should not be together. I write what they see in each other, why they would want to be with the other person. And I wrote why other people would respect and like the villain-turned-hero.
In other words, I break the whole thing down and analyze the hell out of everything I can think of.
Now, you might think that that’s just a great way of “pretending” to write and get work done on a manuscript that’s causing troubles, and you’d be absolutely right! However, it’s also a great way to learn more about the characters, the story, and allow it all to percolate in my little brain so that when I actually sit down to write the book it’s not quite as difficult—I’m not going to say it was easy, it most definitely wasn’t, but at least the words came. The story revealed itself and words came out of my characters mouths.
It would be wonderful if all stories just flowed and allowed themselves to be written as if by magic (you start with a blank “page” and *poof!* before you know it, it’s filled with beautiful, wonderful, meaningful words). Sadly, that’s just not the way life and writing is. Sometimes you have to struggle. Sometimes you have to pull those resisting words out of your brain no matter how hard they try to keep you from doing so.
The key is to keep trying. Have faith in your story idea and your ability to get it down. And then, if all else fails, you call your friendly neighborhood book coach because sometimes you just can’t do it alone.