never stop learning

October 30, 2018

I’m currently reading Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maass. This will probably strike some people as funny or ironic or something. I’m twenty-two published novels into my career, right?  My first novel was a breakout novel.  (In fact, Maass talks about the Kitty series in one of his other books on writing, The Fire in Fiction.) Surely I’ve got this covered, right?

The current thing I’m working on is different from anything I’ve ever written. I’m on a third draft and it’s not there yet.  So I’m hitting the books, getting back to basics. Trying to figure out what I’m missing, what I need to focus on.

And it’s humbling, because in this book Maass explicitly talks about how his audience isn’t necessarily new writers, but mid-career writers who’ve maybe hit a wall.

Um. Yeah.

The good news is I’ve got a couple of pages of notes now about what I need to work on. I’ve identified the primary conflict as a three-way tug-of-war between three characters. I’ve identified one of those characters as an actual character and not as the distant nebulous thing she was before (fantasy writing, sometimes characters don’t look like characters), and determined there aren’t actually subplots — just consequences of the one main plot.

Now I just have to, you know. Do the thing.  My usual tricks weren’t working, gotta learn something new. “Never stop learning” is a really good lesson.

*rolls up sleeves*



One Response to “never stop learning”

  1. mdkanner Says:

    Reblogged this on Mike's Scribblings and commented:
    It is nice as a new fiction writer to see that a writer who I admire (and will read anything she has written) also struggles on a project.

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