Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Starting Over



Hello!  Today I’m blogging about starting over.  A couple weeks ago I had to ditch 37k words in my current WIP and start over.  I had been struggling with inspiration and motivation in this one for months, but kept pushing on until I finally stalled out.  Lost my story.  

Normally I know when I’ve gone wrong with a plot turn or character, and could go back and delete and rewrite to get back on track.  This time I was stumped.  So, I opted for starting over.  I kept the opening scene because I knew that was where the story began, and soon found where I went wrong.   Now, I am excited about writing this one and feel renewed and rejuvenated.  

Has this ever happened to you?  How do you know when/if your story has gone off track?  Or are you one of those lucky plotters (I’m a pantser) who never writes themselves into a corner?

Thanks for visiting me today and I hope to hear your ‘starting over’ stories. 

Have a great day!
Jennifer
2006 Golden Heart Finalist

24 comments:

Allison Merritt said...

Hey Jennifer!

I know what you mean. I worked really hard on a historical romance a couple of years ago, actually finished it, but I hated the way it ended. So I cut the end off and started again.

Unfortunately, I got so burned out and the FMC was so whiny, I had to give up again. It's gathering dust on my flash drive. I feel sick every time I think about it. Maybe someday I'll have the motivation to try again.

Jennifer Lowery (Kamptner) said...

Thanks, Allison! I hope you do get it out one day :)

Brenda said...

Yep, I've dealt with this very same issue before and it stinks. But I'm so glad you didn't give up. Good for you!

Sheri Fredricks said...

Hi Jennifer ~ I was lucky. When I stalled out on an old MS, I created a new beginning and combined the two parts together. And I too burned out on the story. But lately...I've been itching to get back into that old MS again.

Good luck with yours. Whether you let it collect dust for awhile or not.

Tabitha Blake said...

I am a big plotter and that helps so much. When the story seems to stop suddenly I go back and rework my outline. I refuse to write without one. I have had my moments though. But I'm like you I refuse to give up.

Jennifer Lowery (Kamptner) said...

Thanks, Brenda!

Jennifer Lowery (Kamptner) said...

Thanks, Sheri! I'm hoping I can save some scenes, but we'll see. Sometimes it's just not the right time to write the story :)

Jennifer Lowery (Kamptner) said...

You are so lucky, Tabitha! Wish I could write with an outline, tried and failed miserably.

Casea Major said...

Jennifer, I am of the Bob Ross philosophy -- There are no mistakes. Only happy accidents.

So with my Works in Progress or finished MS I think of everything that I write as just new perspective with an alternate timeline. It's a lways a learning experience and I get joy from writing so if no one but me ever sees it I realize it was a necessary part of my process.

But yes I have Probably 20k or more of scenes that I'm not using in a story.

Jennifer Lowery (Kamptner) said...

Happy accidents! Love that, Casea! Very nice way to look at it, thanks :)

Martha Ramirez said...

Love your pic btw!
I have to say that ever since I've stuck with Blake Snyder's beat sheet (Save the Cat) I haven't had a problem with knowing the direction I need to take. It's a pain sometimes to outline before starting but it's worth it to me and it's not set in stone per se.

Ella Quinn said...

Two post grad degrees later and I still cannot outline. Every once in a while I need to delete and start over.

Marion

Jennifer Lowery (Kamptner) said...

I am a huge fan of Blake Snyder, Mart!! Have tried the beat sheet, but just cannot follow any type of outline :( I really don't mind starting over as long as I get it right!

Jennifer Lowery (Kamptner) said...

You and me both, Marion! Can't outline either.

Lia Davis said...

Yes, I started a WIP over, a couple of times. I even changed the mythology. I'm thinking about changing it again. But I'll let it sit for a while. I can't do an outline either. I've tried, many times and can't do it. I have to sit and just write. I do more revisions, but I kinda like revisions.

D'Ann said...

Jenn~
Really excited to see the new version! I did that with Burn--wrote myself into a corner I can't seem to get out of. Someday I hope to go back and fix it, but everytime I start, I can't seem to get out.

christine warner said...

Hi Jennifer...I'm actually just coming out of this exact situation. I'm sorry you had to cut so many words, but you know that your story will only be that much stronger and a better read.
I actually just stalled and knew something wasn't right, but couldn't put my finger on it. I do a quickie outline and GMC charts so I reworked those 3 times until it finally felt right and I could move on.
Who said writing wasn't work? lol
Great post!

Jennifer Lowery (Kamptner) said...

Me, too, Lia! I like revisions!

Jennifer Lowery (Kamptner) said...

Thanks, D'Ann! I liked Burn and would love to help brainstorm that one someday!

Jennifer Lowery (Kamptner) said...

Yeah, who said? I agree with you Christine! Writing is hard work, but we love it :)

Diane Burton said...

Congratulations, Jennifer, on not giving up. Sometimes, we write ourselves into such corners that it's not just hard to see it but very hard to start over. Usually, my critique partner tells me it's crap or to throw out the 1st 10 pages. I never want to throw away my "precious" words so I save whatever I've written that isn't working into a separate file. It's a mental thing. My words are still there if I need them. I rarely, if ever, do. So, keep on writing. The more we write the better we get.

Jennifer Lowery (Kamptner) said...

Thanks, Diane! I, too, save my words in a folder marked 'deleted' just in case :) And, I've decided to start posting chaps as I write them to my crit group—something I've never done, to see if it helps!

Jenna said...

I can't remember an ms that I had to start over. I was advised (badly) to change a lot of one of my early ones. I tried but it didn't work, so I went back to the beginning, worked on the writing itself, and it worked just fine. But I'm a plotter, so I fine-tune in the outline stage.

Excellent post, Jennifer. Good luck with the new ms. I'll be looking for it. :)

Jennifer Lowery (Kamptner) said...

Thanks, Jenna! You are so lucky to be a plotter. I'm looking for a happy middle :)