Monday, August 21

...the breathings of your heart...


"Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.” –William Wordsworth


I’m having trouble with the book I’m writing. This isn’t news to anyone—I’ve been whining about it for weeks now. It’s better—I’ve at least had a few days with four-figure word counts, but not very many. I’m still not sure about how the book is going. Or if it will go at all. Occasionally I will read over an entire scene and wonder what on earth it’s doing there—it does nothing, not a single, solitary thing, to move the story forward. The other day, I entered an asterisk for a new scene and then typed VET SCENE TO BE WRITTEN LATER. MAYBE. and went on to the next chapter.

This happens to me with almost every book. It is called, in case you’re lucky enough to have forgotten, the sagging middle. Like during the composition of the synopsis and the back-cover blurb, I consider it my time in writer hell. Honesty compels me to admit my editor writes my back-cover blurbs. I don’t know if they all do, but he must understand my limitations. However, for the sagging middle and the synopsis, I am on my own.

It’s not pretty.

I write every day, but on Saturday and Sunday, I almost always work on something besides the WIP. Sometimes it’s what Holly Jacobs calls the Sunday book. Sometimes it’s promotional blog posts. Sometimes, like today, it’s the post for Word Wranglers. Occasionally, I get nothing written at all but do manage to lose many games of Solitaire and waste hours getting ticked off by Facebook.

Every now and then, the weekend work is writing verses in the bible of a book I’m going to write Someday. You know, the hero’s name and what he’s like and who his family is and why he happens to be there at the exact right time to meet the heroine. And then there’s her name and the story of her life and why she has the number 32 tattooed on the inside of her ankle.

It is those “every now and then” days, when a story comes to life in my scattered and sometimes frenetic notes that make the times of pathetic, muddy middles and horrible synopses worthwhile. It gives birth to aha moments, laughing aloud at what is for a tiny moment my own certain genius, and falling in love with the people who are introducing themselves to me. It’s when I know—are you reading this, Nan Reinhardt?—that I am indeed a writer. It's the time of the breathings of my heart.

So come on into the round corral and join us. Tell us about your aha moments—and your most horrible ones. We promise to celebrate and weep with you. We’ve all been there.

Have a great week!

14 comments:

  1. The sagging middle isn't just a comment about my weight ;-) I'm stuck there, too!

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    1. You just had to bring that up, didn't you? I read your comment and looked straight down at where I used to have a lap! :-)

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  2. Oh, the sagging middle...it's my nemesis - in writing and ...well, Ava said not to go there so...I'm gonna go for a walk instead.

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    1. Yeah, she kind of ruined things for us today, didn't she? And I thought I was being so profound! Lol.

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  3. I call it the murky middle...it could last anywhere from days to years. Right now, I'm excited about a "Sunday book" (love that expression)that's percolating. BTW...Great post!

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    1. Thanks, Joanne. And you're right--murky works!

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  4. You posted in your blog one of my worst moments. One of my best moments is when I received a fan letter from a guy who said my books are some of the best he ever read.

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    1. I remember that worst moment, Ilona--it was a bad one, for sure. I love good ones like that.

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  5. Since I am currently in revision hell on Saving Sarah, you have my every sympathy about your sagging middle. I love those first chapters best and endings that are truly aha moments... and yes, my friend, you are indeed a writer (I know that you were talking to me, I truly do!) and you're one of my very favorites! ((hugs))

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    1. Thank you! Good luck with Sarah--she'll be worth it!

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  6. My worst moments as a writer? There are probably quite a few. Getting rejection after rejection letter certainly qualifies (we've now moved on to rejection emails- gotta love technology). My best moment as a writer came when I finally received a contract from a small publisher. I was doing edits and my editor pointed out how many times I used the word "smiled". It was ridiculous how many times I used that word. Anyway, I went through the manuscript and changed/eliminated as many as I could. My editor told me I was a "real writer" for doing the work. Her words made me feel like a "real writer" and I've never forgotten them.

    My sympathies on your sagging middle hell. I feel your pain!

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    1. I love that story! I remember when my Carina editor, Mallory Braus, told me how many times I'd used "look." I was mortified. However, previous to that, I didn't actually know anything about find, replace, etc. Did I ever need an editor!

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  7. Some of my aha moments come to me while I'm writing, while others come to me in the early morning when I'm still half asleep. However, I do some of my best plotting from behind the steering wheel. :)

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    1. I think I wrote entire books from behind the steering wheel! Since I'm not in the car so much anymore, it doesn't happen a lot. I do relate to the early morning moments, though.

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