This week, I hit a wall while writing my novel. I’ve been having problems with Sagging Middle-itis and I was up to a transitional part where Victoria, in 1895, is about to embark on something and…
I just couldn’t move forward with it.
I know where this story is going, but it’s not getting there–it’s just useless amounts of words on the page.
This GIF accurately depicts how I felt about this particular draft.
So I thought. And I angsted. And I critiqued Michelle Tran’s first three chapters, which reminded me what writing good chapters were like. And I read fan fiction. And I watched some movies. And I watched Hayley Atwell’s Dubsmash clips, ’cause they amuse me. And my best friend told me via email: “You probably know this by now, but you’re your own worst critic.” Yes. Yes, I am.
I figured out what’s been bothering me about this book: it’s in thinking that it’s going to be half historical and half contemporary. I’ve read books where there are two protagonists and I’ve read a lot of books with a contemporary or 20th century setting and characters, with a related historical component.
But in practical writing terms, I need to decide which of my two protagonists gets the majority of the screen time because otherwise, this will turn into Les Miserables, which I’m still only 4% through. My inkling is that it should be Nicole, the contemporary character, because more readers will probably identify with her issues. Victoria is Nicole’s ancestor and her actions have affected some of the hows, whats, and whys of Nicole’s life–including the reasons why Nicole is even getting an inheritance in the first place.
But then we get to the issues of me writing contemporary fiction, which I don’t feel I’m good at.
I made a list of what Nicole’s main conflicts are through the story:
- She’s getting an inheritance from a very distant relative in an irregular way, from a branch of the family she didn’t even know existed. She doesn’t know what to feel about this.
- She grows curious about this part of her family, but then worries about what her closer family members will think if she actually inherits.
- She works in a job that she loves, but it wasn’t what she wanted out of life–and she wonders if she talked herself out of doing what she really wanted because she was afraid
- She’s getting over a breakup