Tuesday, May 17, 2011

When writing gets stale

So I'm in the process of re-writing my WiP to incorporate a new plot element and tighten up the plot overall. The first act of the book required re-writing almost from scratch. When I got to the second act, I thought I could sit back and relax. It still needed a lot of work, but there were big chunks of it I thought I could recycle.

Problem is when I started stitching the chapter back together around those recycled paragraphs, the result felt stale.

Not sure why "stale" is the adjective that came to mind, but I figured I could still make dressing out of it, like you make delicious turkey dressing out of stale bread.  Just needed a few more ingredients...

Anybody else ever run into this problem with stitching recycled writing back into your story?  Anybody have any suggestions? Maybe I'm just not putting it in the right place. Maybe my character has changed too much. Maybe I'm trying to hang onto to funny little snippets of scenes I'm too attached to, and I need to let them go. I'm hoping my CPs will have some advice, if I can't figure it out.

So that's my Round of Words in 80 days progress from this past week. I'm in a slump of staleness and not sure what ingredients I need to proceed.  By the way, here's a really awesome post over at the ROW80 blog about training yourself to meet regular goals.

My ROW80 partner Sheri Larsen is also re-writing, and has been sharing her insights on re-writing over at her blog (both this week and last week).  Another partner, Susan Kaye Quinn, is in the first draft stage but struggling with the itch to go back and revise. I promise a chuckle if you head over to her page to find out what she's done to her inner editor. And C. Lee Mckenzie meanwhile has reached the half-way point in her first draft, cheers!

A couple more links I wanted to share: if you haven't yet heard of Ali Cross's Ninja writers, head over and check it out! She's got a fun way of "ranking" your progress as a writer. I figured out that I'm a blue-belt writer Ninja with two stripes (white belts are those who have just started writing, and black belts are those who have not only reached publication, but are actively giving back to the writing community). There are also linkies for a first-drafting group and for a revising/rewriting group.

Last but not least, Carolina Valdez Miller is giving away a signed copy of Divergent, by Veronica Roth (the new YA dystopia release that is climbing the best-seller lists.) I've read the first chapter online, and it's powerful stuff - reminds me of the Hunger Games, without being a copycat.

So my writerly friends, tell me your re-writing/revising woes, and what you did to get past them...

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