I’ve started working on my fantasy WIP, ELEMENTAL, again. It’s the one I started a while back, and found myself writing not only from two viewpoints, first person and third person, but, somewhat to my horror, in two different tenses, too.
I had put the five scenes I’d written on the backburner, because in my worry about the two different tenses, I felt so much resistance to working on the story anymore.
But last week, I decided to send the scenes to my friend Jules. Jules is a writer and a reader, too; she reads voraciously, and has the same eclectic taste in fiction that I have. She had also recently read a book which had a narrative structure very similar to the one I’ve been playing with – the novel used both first person, present tense and third person, past tense – and she found the narrative structure very uncomfortable to read.
Which made her an ideal reader for the scenes I’d written. So I sent the pages off to her and waited for her critique.
In the meantime, I also had lunch with my daughter, Hayley. Hayley is not much of a reader, which I find somewhat astonishing as she’s a very good writer. I mentioned my WIP to her, she was interested, and I decided to give her my five scenes to read, too.
The results? Jules found the scenes worked well; the switches between the two very different viewpoints worked for her. She didn’t find them jarring the way she’d found the novel she’d read a while back to be jarring.
And Hayley read through my scenes in her thorough, methodical way, and when I asked her about the switch in viewpoint and tense, she said she hadn’t noticed.
Both of them were eager to read more, find out where all my little plot points would take the characters.
Validation! Now that I know the narrative structure isn’t a problem, at least not for two very different readers, my resistance to tackling this WIP has lifted. I tell you, it’s hard to write when in the back of your mind you’re thinking, “yes, but I’ll probably have to rewrite this in a totally different tense sometime down the road.”
So yes, I needed this information, this acceptance.
And ever since then, I’ve been inundated with plot lines. It’s all boiling together in a really epic way, and while I have no clue how all the twists will come together in the end, I want to find out what happens.
Every quiet moment I have, my storylines pop into my head and I learn even more.
It’s the best situation to be in, from a writing perspective.
Which brings me to my sort of goal. The fact is, I’m getting really tired of always being in the same position writing-wise. I’m tired of always wanting to write, but never having written. Of dreaming of writing, but never seriously doing it.
The first draft of NANTUCKET is still sitting there, waiting for me to work on it. And now ELEMENTAL is seriously calling to me, too. It feels like I’ve been in this situation forever, almost.
And so I’ve decided that I will just plunge in and get going. According to a friend of mine who does Chinese face reading and astrology, this year is my year for accomplishing the stuff I want to do. It’s my stellar year – and it ends this coming February, when I’m in for a year of relaxation, ease and delight.
I’m also knee deep in my busy period work-wise; ironically, it’s always when I’m most busy that I get my most serious urges to sit down and write. So I’m going to do that, make the writing a priority and make full use of all this writing energy that deadlines always provoke in me.
By the end of this year? I would love to have the first draft of this current WIP finished and yes, Nantucket finalized and ready to send forth into queryland. That’s my sort-of goal.