Stuck in the Middle Again

Spontaneous combustion is a real thing, folks. I saw it in a movie once.

Spontaneous combustion is a real thing. I saw it in a movie once.

There’s this weird thing going on with my manuscript. She’s defying my authority. (Is it weird to refer to my manuscript as a female? It’s totally not weird, just go with it). My MS has gone through this sneaky-like-a-rebellious-teenager defiance stage ever since I decided to expand the story into a trilogy. And by defy, I mean, create diversions and a false sense of cohesion and story truth and basically run off with the mistress and all of our money and assets. 

I take no responsibility for the actions of my manuscript. Okay, maybe I must take some responsibility because it was under my supervision during the time of the crime, and had I been paying attention maybe it wouldn’t have thought that sucking all of reality into the stargate portal, packing it onto the TARDIS and sending it through a wormhole to the end of the universe was the BEST IDEA EVER. (Hey, that’s actually a pretty cool story idea). Nevertheless, my MS decided one day it was going to up and leave the building like a queen at a drag show, finger-snap and all, and make itself comfortable in some alternate universe where everything is backwards, inside out and upside down. And I’ve been trying to wrestle it back ever since.

See, the first book was easy. The story flew naturally from head to Word doc, nearly too effortless to be true. The original MS has seen some drastic rewrites since, but the main structure of the story has remained the same. I was equally baffled and amused at how I could write this story to which I was mostly blind further than two chapters ahead, and then just come up with the theme and purpose of the story when I was nearly finished writing it. It was a beautiful thing to behold. 

And then I decided to write two more books. 

Now, I have always had a pretty clear idea of where the story would go were I to expand it. I also had an idea of an awesome twist for the second book. But it was the wrong twist to the wrong story. Somehow, I’d managed to derail the original theme of the story and head it straight for the cliffs. I was over-thinking it. I was over-writing it.

So I thought, okay, let me contemplate what I’m really trying to say and then I’ll work the story around that; start with a feeling, make it tangible. Easier said than done. I have so many places where it could go, so many places where I don’t want it to go. I’ve tried for two months to really nail down the plot. And every time I think I have it figured out, good ol’ MS decides to chuck the whole thing into the wind, leaving me to sort the scrambled pages back in order. 

I pride myself on having decent instincts when it comes to my writing. I know when something is off, and usually my decision to fix or alter something does well for my story. But this has me in a stand-still. Every time I come up with something better, it throws the rest out of alignment. It’s a cycle I seem to be repeating over and over and over, with no end in sight. And deadlines are approaching. I need to nail down the themes that thread through the whole series before I hand the first book to my editor, otherwise the effort will be all for naught. 

Hopefully this little vent will transport through the stargate-TARDIS-wormhole and find the evil beings which are holding my dear manuscript hostage and surrender it back to me before my head really does spontaneously combust. (Side note: is it really a spontaneous combustion if I see it coming?)

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