Monday, February 8, 2010

Muffin Top Middle

I am currently revising my dreaded middle section of the WIP. Let me repeat: dreaded middle section.

Now for the non-writers out there or for the writers who only make it to the middle of a novel, lose heart and quit, here is a truism: writing through the middle section of a WIP/FIRST DRAFT; WIP/IN REVISION FOR THE BILLIONTH TIME is painful and soul-sucking work. This is not for the faint of heart. Nope. One must forge ahead, knowing the maps and outlines created to prevent this mind-numbing process have FAILED. Or at least we believe they have and we would love to kill the characters and move on.

Confession: According to my loving CP in VA, I whine a lot as I enter into this phase.

As I grit my teeth and buckle down to wrestle the horrible plot into shape, I begin to have hope and become somewhat euphoric because I can see the solutions unfolding and bringing me to new lands. I don't kill my peeps, they find a great way to fix life's many problems, the villain or bad dude is conquered and all the loose threads are neatly tucked into a bow.

It's a glimmer of hope. One that will ebb when I have to tighten the writing, but it can be done.

Confession: I don't know of a single writer, published or unpublished, who doesn't go through the "I suck" period while stuck in the middle of their MS.

I'm muddling along with my current WIP in Revision while nursing DH through his hip replacement recovery and all that entails. While not trying to squeeze in writing time, I am reading Maass's book, WRITING THE BREAKOUT NOVEL. A few days ago, while waiting for DH to get through his surgery, I read the following:

Breakout novels sprawl... it can be a scary prospect, this business of writing large. In midmanuscript a breakout novelist can feel lost, overwhelmed by possible scenes and the challenge of tying up every thread... it is common for outlines to breakdown... many breakout novelists realize they have not looked at their outline in months... instead they are pushing forward on instinct, using some inner sense of direction to keep them driving toward the hight moments and, eventually, the final line.

This is where I am-the midsection. And it is growing into a muffin top midsection. Yet I persist because I sort of envision the final destination for my peeps. The story is taking a life on of its own. I love this part of the writing process. It's not going fast, but it is going well. I know it will need a lot of shining and polishing when it's done, but oh the plotting and playing with it is fabulous.

My midsection is a muffin top.

What is a muffin top? Well, it's that top of the muffin that spills over the ends of the cupcake holder and makes a lovely half moon shape. It's got all the ingredients inside it and when one bites into it, sheer delight.

Confession: Not only is my midsection of the MS a muffin top, my belly is currently a muffin top spilling over my jeans due to a long cold winter, too many hours in BICHOK and not enough hours trimming the middle down through diet and exercise.

That is what I am getting ready to do--put my MS on a diet and exercise program. I will whip this puppy into shape using whatever means I can to get the story told.

Meanwhile, pass the muffins.

There I said it. No amount


Gwen Hernandez said...

You have the best analogies! I think I figured out how to fix my middle without huge rewrites, and tie in the concept of combining roles and weaving plot layers.


KarenG said...

Mmmm, love the muffin top! Especially the chocolate ones. Just not when it's my novel lol! I've got the opposite problem, not enough meat, or muffin or whatever. I'm trying to add, add, add--content that makes sense, though, not just fluffy words.

Christine said...

Gwen: I can't wait to read! If it is anything like your daily squirrel, I know it will be fabulous.

Karen: more eggs... more protein... just keep writing!
Way to go!