IWSG: What Made Me Think I Could This?

This is my first post as a member of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group, which two of my blogging and writing group buddies are a part of–Karla Gomez and Randi Lee. The IWSG is organized by Alex J. Cavanaugh and posts every first Wednesday of the month.

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What Made Me Think I Could Do This?

To explain, I need to tell you a little about my WIP. At its most basic premise, this is what The Keegans of Banner’s Edge is about: Barbados, 1799: Miles loses his wife, decides to return to his native England with his 2 daughters: one white, the other half black. 

I’m elbow-deep in the fourth draft. I’ve been working on this same dang story for nearly three years; I only took a break during NaNo ’13 to write something else because my brain needed a rest. Of course, there are several things that make this project different from past projects:

  • It’s historical fiction. It made sense in my head to at least give an honest try at writing hist. fic. because that’s what I love reading. 
  • Multiple POVs. I’ve done multiple POVs before, but this story has five POVs. The third draft had six. Six. I must’ve been insane. 
  • My MC is a hard character to get into the mind of, for whatever reason. It’s frustrating. 

By a fourth draft, one expects the project to be reasonably polished. I have an outline, I have three drafts with these characters, and my last two drafts were beta-read. But it doesn’t feel uniformly polished.

Is the plot I finally came up with after hitting the drawing board after draft three going to be enough? And there are pesky plot bunnies nipping at my heels, going, “Write me! Write me!”

What made me think I’m capable of writing an entire coherent novel? Was it the novella, two trunked novels, and two NaNo projects I’ve written since 2009 that made me think that? None of them were as laborious as this thing has been. Is it because since I was 12-years-old, I’ve consistently said I want to be a writer? 12-year-olds, what do they know. Was it majoring in Writing in college that did it? Actually, that convinced me not to be a writer for a little while.

I’m revising, but I don’t know that I’m going in the right direction. And it’s a novel, so no one can tell me if I’m going in the right or the wrong direction. So we’ll just have to see.

Normal people don’t do this to themselves. Or at least, that’s what I’m told.

Thanks for reading 🙂

38 thoughts on “IWSG: What Made Me Think I Could This?

  1. I ask myself this question with every single story I write. This is and \”Why did I do this to myself?\” I was just telling someone yesterday how I wish I could remember how good I feel right now so I don't freak out quite as much with the next project. When you finish, and you will finish, you'll look back on this moment and not believe that you ever doubted yourself. ^_^

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  2. Your WIP sounds ambitious, but that's a good thing. I think if you're not stretching yourself, you're not going to grow as a writer. And your premise sounds really intriguing!I am on draft 4 of my historical fantasy, if that makes you feel any better. 🙂

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  3. Well, I hit 50K yesterday, so I'm almost or about halfway through and I'm in the bit where I can cut and paste stuff directly from draft three, edit it slightly, and there you go! So that's good.

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  4. Thank you so much! I remind myself that Margaret Mitchell took ten years to write Gone With The Wind. Now, I'm not going for a 1,000-page behemoth, but I have a computer and the Internet. So….less complaining, more working.

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  5. Haha that's kinda where I am with mine!! I've added many things to make the story more enticing but I know half of it doesn't make sense. I'm just gonna keep going tho because I owe it to myself. I too have bunnies- literally, too- but we must stay focused. Of course take breaks when needed tho!Glad you joined! Yay!

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  6. I think if you're not stretching yourself, you're not going to grow as a writer.So true! And it makes sense to write what you want to read or like to read. So multiracial Jane Austen times it is, for me, right now. Good luck with your draft 4!

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  7. It really is wonderful when it all clicks, isn't it? I had a moment like that last night while I was cut-and-pasting something from the last draft into the new one and editing it to fit. Feelin' more zen about it now 🙂

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  8. We're really not normal. At. All. In fact, yesterday, I read a blog that talked about brain scans that were done on experienced vs. novice and the scans showed that experienced writers had different brain activity when read a few lines and told to complete the story. So, see? It's our brains!

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  9. My brother heard me complaining about this once. He took my hand, lead me to the book section at Walmart (he lives in a really small town), and held several titles literally in my face, not the best-sellers, but some really off the wall stuff. And then he said – 'These people actually got these published. And you don't want to tell me that you're less capable than every single one of them.\”His point was made.In other words, you can do it too. Just keep don't give up. I think that's the key.

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  10. Your brother speaks the truth. And I think I'm getting into a more comfortable part of the WIP now because it's mostly stuff that's been edited/revised/rewritten already all the way from drafts one and two. So, hopefully, slightly smoother sailing from here! Besides—Twilight was published.

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  11. I'm curious. Why did majoring in writing make you not want to be a writer? I think I can guess. I went through a similar experience, but I'd love to hear your story about that.

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  12. Oh no! My comment seems to have disappeared. I was trying to say that with all your drafts and consideration, I bet your novel will be very cohesive. From your description it also sounds like a compelling read. I have a novel in the early stages of development that also feature biracial characters. Not only are my children biracial but as a writer the blending of cultures also opens up possibilities. I just joined this group and am glad I did. Today I've been busy visiting so many new and interesting blogs, including yours.

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  13. Sounds like its time for you WIP to leave the nest and visit w/ some objective readers. Feedback of any kind is hard but it can also give you that much needed direction and hopefully some positive vibes.Keep moving forward.Heather

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  14. It's already done that, actually! It was beta read pretty thoroughly last draft, which is why I outlined for this draft knowing that I was going to have quite a bit of work to do on it. I plan on seeing if my writing group will want to read bits and pieces of it when it's finished. I want to be ready to enter a few contests come September and then get a query together and start submitting.

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  15. Welcome to IWSG. Someone (a couple of someone's) needs to read your book. We get so wrapped up in our project that we lose objectivity. We need readers who have nothing invested in the work and who will give you an honest opinion. Best wishes.

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  16. Doubts have their way of sneaking in, don't they 🙂 I have a \”finished\” novel that's been through about four deep revisions, and it still isn't where I think it could be. The issue is always when you don't know how to get it where you want it, or that's my trouble at least. Keep faith that you'll figure it out 🙂

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  17. My opinion? You're doing really well!I have yet to complete a full length story that is longer than 1500 words. It may take me a while, but I'll eventually get there. I just hope it's sometime within this century. LOL…and are writers normal people? LOL

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  18. Diane–thanks for stopping by! It'll be read again by a beta reader when this draft is done. Genissa–I've realized that I'm not great at forming plots, so there was that problem and it's the first historical fiction I've really tried to write, so there's that, too. It's getting there. Michelle–Thanks! I really don't think we are normal. At. All.

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  19. Holy wow! I've always known from my gut, but I've never had it scientifically proven. What was the conclusion? Maybe we are a race of aliens because our brains function on an entirely different level–now there's a great scifi book to write about! 😉

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