That word progress in the heading is in quote marks because it feels more like lack of progress this week!
The word count is moving upwards, even if at a crawl pace at least it’s moving, and I’ve written something every single day. That’s the good news. The bad news is, I feel like I’m floundering. The story seems to have lost direction. I think this is the mid book slump, aka saggy middle, it’s just taken me 47,000 words to get there. That many words, yet I’m only about halfway through the story arc. This is going to need one hell of an edit!
I feel like the conflict is too weak, my hero’s motivation and heroic qualities aren’t coming across clearly enough (no, Luk, being gorgeous and rich is NOT enough!), and I’m in confused whose point of view I should be in when the scene will have equal emotional impact on both characters. The tone is patchy and variable, and the dialog and character behaviour is inconsistent, depending on what mood I’m in that day.
None of these are problems that can’t be worked out in the edits. The biggest problem is my self-doubt and that overactive internal editor of mine switching on at the wrong time.
I’m in the middle of writing the big first sex scene. and I’ve stopped and pulled back, leaving them dangling! This is a scene that will be earth shattering for both of them. Emma loses her physical virginity, but Luk loses his emotional virginity. The emotional impact on both of them will be equal. But instead of writing it, I’m fretting about whose POV I should be in. Sheesh, what planet am I on? I keep telling myself I need to just write the scene, already, and worry about POV when I edit… and edit… and edit some more…
Problem is, that’s not working.
Maybe the truth is, I’m sabotaging myself. I do want this story to be publishable. But I’m not comfortable with the thought of revealing this sexual writing. I’m so identified with these characters, it feels like opening the bedroom door and inviting the neighbourhood in to watch me make love. It’s safer and more comfortable to step back and go into critic mode and focus on something technical like point of view that get into the reality of opening up to allowing intimacy and deep emotion with these characters.
Hmm, interesting. This is Luk’s character flaw, his main growth challenge. His driving force is staying emotionally safe by keeping people outside a wall he’s built around himself to avoid pain. I knew I was putting a lot of me into Emma, I didn’t realise I was doing the same with Luk too. My difficulty with this scene is the same as his. That’s a useful thing to know. It could help me get through this discomfort and write the scene, and also be something I can draw on to make Luk more real.
Tomorrow I’ll find some nice dark comfortable cupboard to lock the internal editor in, maybe throw in a few cushions and some magazines to keep her occupied, so I can just write and write and write this scene. It won’t be perfect. It won’t have the texture and depth and emotion I want it to have. And I need to find a way to be okay with that, to allow my first draft to be first draft. To trust that if I can get the story down, those things can be layered in during the edits.
Trust, relinquish control, let down the emotional barriers. Luk’s journey as a character needs to be my journey as a writer too.