Introduction to the Accountability Post 2021 Week 32
I learned something important this week. Namely, that the my reactions and mental states when I last wrote novels (about 30 years ago!), and my reactions and mental states now, aren’t the same. You might suspect that I just said something stupendously obvious, and you’re probably right. In my defense, I’m often the last to know obvious things about myself. Either I’m good at being selectively blind, or I’m not paying attention. In any event, the brick wall I talked about in last week’s post was only partially related to the brick wall of my 20s. Well, at least this encounter turned out to have a different cause. More on that in a minute. Let’s jump right into my word count for the week.
Accountability Post 2021 Week 32 By the Numbers
By the end of the previous week, I’d gotten to 49,380 words on the strength of 5,692 words for that week. Here’s what this week looked like:
Sometimes, I have to take a step back to get moving in the right direction. That’s what I did on August 4.
I ended the week with 55,827 words for a weekly total of 6,447. It’s a bit of an improvement from the previous week. Unfortunately, it’s still below what I had hoped for when I cleared an extra 2-hour writing session or two. I reduced my anime review workload to make that time.
Though to cut myself some slack, I’m still in the first third of the novel. I have to expect some refinement as I see the characters play off each other. Those character interactions helped me refine the plot’s direction, and I’ll talk about that in a minute. Bottom line: I’m still making progress. That’s a good thing.
A Different Kind of Brick Wall
Yes, last week I hit a brick wall. It felt almost the same as the walls I used to hit decades ago. I’m older now. While I can’t claim to be wiser, I have learned a thing or two. Momentary discomfort comes with being alive. Shying away from the feelings associated with a work stoppage means I’ll never learn anything. So, I forced myself to confront that feeling. I began to understand it. In the past, I had interpreted that feeling as another indication that I lacked the skills to write. Now, I see it a little differently.
Two characters in particular, Melchizedek “Dek” Conrad and Jack Booth, sputtered as I tried to write their scenes. Instead of just falling into a pit of self-loathing, I forced myself to understand what was going on. I realized that I didn’t feel confident in the arcs for those two characters. The arc for Helmine Stein was in the same situation. So,I went back to my plot braiding worksheet and saw that the Plot Turn 1 to Pinch 1 transitions looked anemic. I hadn’t been clear on what those escalations should accomplish. After reevaluating those three arc against the Book 2’s main plot, I made some adjustments. That forced me to consider three clusters of chapters that I had considered finished to be incomplete. Finishing the rewrites to those chapters took most of my time this week.
There were two bits of good news: First, the rework turned out to be completely additive. I really didn’t have to remove anything. That told me I should be confident in my original plot. This wasn’t drastic surgery. It was cosmetic.
Second, the feeling of frustration and a general feeling like I should just quit weren’t indications that I should give up writing, as I used to think. It’s an indication that I saw a problem. Since I caught it early in this case, it’s a problem that in the big scheme of things, won’t cost me much time. It would only have cost me time if I had ignored the feeling.
All in all, then, the week turned out to be productive.
Last Week’s and the Coming Week’s Goals
Last week, I had hoped to finish Atticus Porter’s Plot Turn 1 and move into Pinch 1 for the main plot, Jack Booth’s arc, and Dek Conrad’s arc. Since I decided to take a step back this week, I only finished Porter’s Plot Turn 1. However, I prevented significant future rework, so that’s a plus!
This week, I hope to:
- Finish Jack Booth’s Plot Turn 1
- Work on Booth’s Pinch 1
- Work on Conrad’s Pinch 1
- As a stretch objective, work on Ira Malhotra’s Pinch 1
How does it feel to you when you realize the plot needs refinement? I hope you have a healthier perception that I do! I’d love to hear about it in the comments!