Thursday, March 1, 2012

Finding the way

So, as I mentioned a few weeks ago, I've started a new book. So far I've written about 12.5K, which isn't bad, but I kind of think the book is. I'm struggling to find my way into this one, even with my outline. I have great characters, and their journey feels interesting to me, but somehow I can't seem to kickstart it.

I think the problem may be the world I've chosen to set the story in. It's a ballet school, and therefore a much less accessible place than the settings I've used in the past (home and school - places we've all been and experienced). I find that I've written a lot of scenes describing classes, and dancing, and the pressure that comes with being accepted into such a prestigious place. And that's all important to Elana's journey. But I can't help wondering if it's boring.

I don't want this book to be so niche that only ballet girls will be interested in reading it. The themes and story are far bigger than that, and by the second half of the book, the ballet setting is largely gone. But in order to set up the chain of events, I have to start at the school and introduce the people who send Elana on her path.

I tried writing some scenes from further into the book and they worked. It's just the beginning I'm stuck on, how to get from there to .... well, there.

Have you ever had this problem? How do you deal with it? Write through and hope by the end you can fix it? Or skip and move on?


  1. I tend to think of a story, any story, in terms of scenes. When I write, if I can't figure out one scene I move on to another scene. More often than not a logical pathway between two scenes will present itself. In other words, there are only so many ways to get from one point to another and if you know the points (aka the scenes) then your options for how to get from one point to another will be limited and therefore easier to see. Writing the scenes weeds out the illogical paths from scene to scene.

    Good luck!

  2. Hi Kate!
    I am having this problem with my Nano ms from last Novemeber. So, for the first time ever, I am simply writing any scene that pops into my head. Normally, I am a logical, write-from-beginning-to-end person. But I am loving the freedom of writing ahead, moving back, etc. It has opened up ideas I hadn't thought of before in my outlining. Just an idea. Don't give up on it yet, though.

  3. I've always been a write whatever scene comes to me and piece it together kind of a girl, and I don't usually outline, but writing that way seems to leave me writing 5 or 6 complete drafts before I'm happy. This time, I'm hoping to eliminate 1 or 2 drafts by planning more ahead of time so I don't end up with a chaotic jumble of scenes that need to be stuck together somehow.

    But I guess maybe I'm trying to force myself to do something that's just not natural for me and I should embrace my messy, piecemeal approach and just go with it...

  4. I skip and move on. Most of the time what happens by the time I get to the end is that I feel like I now know what HAS to be set up in the beginning, and what doesn't.

  5. Sigh. I can't get a handle on my WIP either. It's the one you and I talked about forever ago. I'm not sure if it's going where I need it, if it's slow. HOw to get her where I need her to be and I'm afraid I wrote myself in a corner. not sure what to do!

  6. Well, at least we're writing in circles together, Kelley!

    I'm sure you can figure it out. Maybe just find a scene later in the book and write that, something really special. That might help unstick you. It seems to be working for me. At least a little...