Monday, May 9, 2011

Sweating out a Sequel: Sometimes your MC gives you the Bird

Howdy, y'all. 

Remember, tomorrow is the deadline for those of you who joined in the Chimichanga Challenge. 

I am currently at just over 22,000 words for my sequel. I don't think I'm going to make it to 40,000 by tomorrow, but that's okay. It's a heckuva lot more than I would have written otherwise!

The truth is, I'm feeling a little bit of deadline pressure. The end of school for my kids -- and therefore, the end of free writing days -- is looming like a dark bulbous cloud over the horizon. 

I think my stress is manifesting itself in my writing. Currently, in my sequel, I'm stuck in this one scene where the three main characters are sitting around, staring blankly, with nothing to say to each other.

I've been on this scene for a few days now. Once, a famous writer said, if you're stuck, put your main character up in a tree, and have the others throw rocks at her. I tried that. But the others couldn't be bothered to go searching for rocks, and my Main Character just built herself a hammock in that tree, and is now taking a leisurely snooze. 

I'm at that 22,000 word mark, which is the notorious Point-o-Desperation for the writer. I have thoughts like:

-I'm never going to finish. Books are really really long! Maybe the sequel could be told better in picture-book form. 

-My characters are protesting the lack of progression at this point. They are building hammocks in trees and refusing to cooperate.

-How did I ever finish a book in the first place?

-I'll never be able to finish a book again. That first one was a fluke. It basically wrote itself. (I liken this notion to having a baby, and when looking back on it, forgetting how much it really hurts.)

-I think my MC just gave me the bird.

I'm too easily distracted...

-That wall looks smudgy. Maybe I should clean all the walls.

-It's raining. I long to feel the rain on my face! Time to go outside... Oh wait. It's sunny. I long to feel the sun on my face! Time to go outside.... Lightning? It's been a while since I've been struck by it. Maybe I'll venture outside.

-Oh yay! The Mailman's here! So long, suckahs!

-Meet you for lunch? Sure! I'd never turn down lunch. Even writers have to eat, right? 

-Two lunches? In one day? I'm in!

-Watching Dr. Who isn't procrastinating. It's research. 

-I have to blog first. I can't let my blog readers down. They depend on me!

-It's been years since I've picked my nose. I wonder what's been going on in there? I better find out...

Yeah, any distraction will do. So I'm making a promise, here and now. I will not be distracted any more. I will not let these things get in the way of writing. I will throw my own rocks at my MC, no matter how many times she flips me off. I will not go to lunch more than four times a week. 

Most of all, I will finish this book before June 4. If I don't, you can stick me in a tree and take turns throwing rocks at me. 

Thanks for listening.


  1. OOOOOH!! I'm first! (I'm never first)

    I am the Queen of Procrastination. Call me if you need tips.

  2. Sal- Yay for being first! I'd love to hear your tips. Let's go to lunch. :)

  3. Well, Blogging is very important! I would have been totally let down if you hadn't blogged. This whole post reminds me of an episode of Spongebob. Maybe you could watch Spongebob and I bet you'd suddenly feel the desire to quit procrastinating. Nothing like kids cartoons to make you reevaluate your life. ;) Good luck!

  4. Jenny- That is true about the kids cartoons. They either make you want to reevaluate your life, or slit your wrists with a plastic knife. :)

  5. Try solitaire. It can kill an afternoon in just seconds! On the helpful side of things, have your kids come over and play with mine to give you a break. And then I'll send mine over to help stimulate some great ideas!

  6. Wow, June 4th is a crazy deadline to give yourself! I'm in the middle of edits for Book 1 now, but I did write about 20,000 words of the sequel before I got my editorial letter, and I was at the exact point you are now. I've been told that this crappy "I'm a one-hit hack" feeling eventually passes, but yes, indeed, my Swiffer and I became very close a few months back.

  7. Have I mentioned I have a spreadsheet for this? You input how many words you have, how many you want, what your deadline is, and voila! It tells you how many you have to write every day to meet it.

    Yes, I'm a little crazy about spreadsheets.

    Also, I'm happy you decided to blog. I miss you when you're gone.

  8. Ugh, sequels. I've been trying to plan mine out-- not even writing it yet!-- and I'm already feeling it. Good luck with meeting your deadline. You can do it!

  9. Blogging is the most important think you can do! It let's you write without thinking about your book ... er write without writing your book. Then, you'll write after you blog. That sounded better in my head. Don't mind me. I don't exist.

  10. Erin- Thanks for the advice. I plan on breaking 5,000. (Solitaire games played.)

    Eve- Good to know it passes! As for the deadline, I didn't really give it to myself. My deadline for book 2 is August 1, and I need time to revise it! :)

    Robin- Send me this spreadsheet! And how was LDStorymakers?

    Shallee- Thanks for the encouragement!

    Jenni- It totally made sense to me. You DO exist!

  11. I'm dreading the thought of my sequel. I have an outline and that's it.

    *hands you rocks for your mean narrator*

  12. I just found this blog and I'm so glad I did. Thanks for making me smile! I just finished my first novel and have the sequel outlined in my head but am waiting to start on it until I find representation. That's the current journey. Anyway, feel free to stop by on my JUST STARTED TODAY blog and I look forward to reading more from you! Good luck!

  13. Zoraida- Thanks for the rocks! *Pelts the MC a few times*

    K.D.- Thanks for finding the blog! Good luck to you on querying. :)

  14. Can you move to another scene, a really exciting one that you've been dying to write?

    It's an idea anyway. *shrugs* Good luck.

  15. oh, brodi. i found your blog at some point last month and it's quickly made it's way into my "ultimates" folder on google reader. you never fail to crack me up and relieve my anxiety at the same time. i'm going through a dry writing spell which keeps manifesting itself the longer i procrastinate...but knowing you're over there picking your nose instead of writing, well, there's a particular comfort in that. :)

  16. Donna- that is a really good idea. I think I'll do that today. After I watch Spongebob.

    Abby- Yay! Happy to have made your ultimates folder. :) Please always take comfort in the fact that I'm picking my nose.