Wednesday 17 February 2016

(vol 3) CHAPTER 03 – “Why We Don’t Succeed”

When I started this blog, I wanted to be honest. 100% honest.

Lying to readers is only lying to ourselves.

So I’m not going to sugar coat this post. I’m not going to bend the truth so that it says what I want it to say but instead of what it should say.

I also want to be clear and state that this post is not a request for people to leave comments that will boost my morale and tell me it will be okay.

It just is what it is.

It’s where I am on my current writing project.


I’m still editing/rewriting CHRIS AND MIKE vs THE RISING DEAD, and I’m still enjoying it. 

But it’s clear that I’m stuck.

I’ve had quite a bit of success since my last post when it comes to fixes and amendments (another character has been ‘killed off’, a psychiatrist become a mother became a psychiatrist, Mike now isn’t made redundant, and an ‘off-screen’ character now has an important role in the final act), but it seems that when I make one change to improve the story, it breaks three other things around it.

And it’s getting frustrating.

I really wanted to give my villain his own story, his own journey, but things keep getting tangled up with the protagonist. It sounds odd, but I can’t seem to get my villain on his own. Some of this is down to the timeline of the story (how can he be here, and then, just minutes later, be there).

One solution has been to drop his chapters, to only tell the story only from the protagonist’s POV. But I’m not sure how I’ll get any of the villain’s story across if I do that, other than a monologue. 

And nobody wants a monologue.


I have to say, the spreadsheet is sort of helping. These are issues and fixes I don’t think I would have come up with had I not listed it the way I now have. And while it hasn’t helped me fix everything (yet), I wouldn’t be surprised if I use it, or something like it, on all writing projects going forward.

I can’t remember how I discovered it (Joanna Penn tweeted the link a while ago) but it’s something that’s obvious now, and I can’t believe I didn’t consider previously.

(WARNING – The below image contains spoilers and has been reduced to obscure text)

Quite simply it’s a list of chapters (column A), a summary of each chapter (column B), the scene locations (column C), and then a mark to show which characters are in the scene.

For the summary column, I’ve marked in grey any chapter that DOES NOT contain the protagonist, in this case MIKE TRUANT.

This way of looking at it has helped with the pacing, though as I mentioned earlier, I’ve having trouble comfortably placing the villain of the peace.


Now, while all this sounds like things are ticking over, the truth is that the above image hasn’t changed too much in the last three weeks. Sure I had an awesome epiphany last week that finally uncovered the theme I was missing, but I feel stalled now. I had several days of chopping and changing and it left me scared to continue, almost like the only way forward now was to step out onto the thin ice.

So I’ve been . . . procrastinating.

Booooo,” I hear you say. “Procrastination is the enemy of the writer, a foot soldier working for the Demons of Distraction.

I know, I know. Believe me, I know. But these things happen. I got stuck, I hit a wall, and turned to the things that make me happy.

So I’ve been playing more on the Xbox, I’ve been reading in my work lunch breaks instead of working on CHRIS AND MIKE (finished AXIS OF ARRON, started REVIVAL). I’ve even stopped taking my notebook into work.

And now that I’m writing this down, now that I’m putting it out there, it makes me sick. Because damn it, I want to write a book and release it this year. I don’t want folders and thumb drives full of beginnings without endings. I keep pining for that end result and then getting scared of doing the hard work in the middle. You know, actually writing.

This is me, kicking myself up the butt, hoping that it’s thirty seventh time lucky, hoping that I can follow in the footsteps of my fellow writing buddies (Craig, Emily, Tamara, and Margaret are my current idols).

I apologise now if this isn’t the last time.


Rant over. I feel better. I think this post is more for me than anyone else. There’s a calm now and I’m ready, once again, to get on with what I want to do.

I apologise for using this platform to moan to myself about myself. Maybe if you’re going through similar things then it may show you that that’s okay, while those that have already published may be looking back and remembering their own weak moments.

A lot of people want to be a writer.

Few people do something about it.

Hardly any succeed.

But the only person stopping you from writing is . . . (all together now) . . . you.

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