This morning, I hit the Productivity for Writers lessons for the section on fear.  Since my discovery yesterday, I think it would be a good idea for a review.  It was 2014 when I took this course.  It doesn’t sound like a long time, but it feels like it because I’ve learned so much.  I might have to go over that one again.

Cycle through about three chapters.  Working out my final battle scene. Want to make sure it’s satisfying.

Three dogs wearing golden crowns of leaves.
Head portrait of three dogs wearing autumn leafs crowns wide picture

Photo by iagodina

On to pantsing…

Peggy has an important point about pantsers needing to connect to the story.  If you stay away from it too long, you can lose the connection to it.  Rereading it and doing a cycling pass helps, but sometimes you don’t ever get that connection back.

I have one I started back in 2018, when I was trying Writing in Public.  It’s called Broken Notes.  I started the novel, got probably 10K into it, and bam!  Work levels got so unmanagable I was struggling not to burn out.  It toasted my writing entirely and that story stalled where it was.

I keep telling myself I should return to that story, and yet I feel like I lost the connection to it.  Some of it also involves how overwhelmed I felt at the time.  I may yet return to it in the future.  Or I could take the basic idea and redraft it new. Who knows?

I don’t even know how someone can spend ten years writing a book and stay connected to it.  For my first novel, I did that merry go round…writing up until about 1/3 point of the story and getting stuck.  It’s a common sticking point that no one talks about or how to resolve.

When I brought it up on the writing message boards, everyone suggested some variety of:

  • You must have a problem in the beginning of the story. Go back and revise it.
  • Try an outline

The result was that I had one of those decades-long novel that was endlessly revised.  I revised it so much that I lost the connection to the story…and didn’t realize it.

One day, my former cowriter offered to work on a novel together.  The only way I could let the first novel go was to tell myself I would return to it once I finished the cowritten one.  That kicked me out of the tunnel vision endlessly revising the first novel gave me.  Once I finished the co-written one, I realized that I’d revised that old story so much I wasn’t the same person that had started writing it. 

How on earth would anyone stay connected to a story they’d been writing for ten years?