(Also posted on One Bite at a Time.)

Tomorrow is one month since I temporarily set aside the work in progress to re-evaluate the plot. Since then, I solved the problems that held me up (more remain, but they’ll be surmountable in context), gained a firmer grasp of my characters (thanks to some excellent advice on Robert Gregory Browne’s writing blog, specifically here), written a flash piece for Patti Abbott’s current challenge, watched a lot of playoff hockey, gone to several events leading up to my daughter’s impending high school graduation (congratulations, Bink), watched some baseball, spent a weekend in North Carolina, bought new windows for the house, and written a grand total of 1500 words.

Considering I like to write 500-1,000 words a day when drafting, 1500 isn’t much for a month. Usually pretty good about getting my ass in the seat, I have manufactured—er, I mean discovered—excuses—er, I mean reasons—to evade writing on all but a small handful of days.

I’m not sure why this is. I’ve been busy in the past and managed to compartmentalize everything so it didn’t interfere too much with writing time. It could be due to my continued ambivalence toward this project. It’s a good idea, and I think it has potential to be a good story. Of course, I thought all my previous efforts were good, too, and publishers have lined up in droves not to buy any of them.

I can also see where this book has potential to suck if it’s not done right. I don’t remember thinking this about the others. One maybe, and I’m still not sure about that one. This WIP is somewhat of a departure for me, as I’ll spend more time away from the actual primary plot than usual, developing a subplot or two, creating a more detailed fictional world, and going into more depth with my protagonist’s personal life. I’ve seen all of these things work in the hands of other writers. Unfortunately, they’re all better writers.

I’ll draft a page tonight. And tomorrow. Two each on Saturday and Sunday, Stanley Cup finals or not. By then I should be back in rhythm. As the Beloved Spousal Equivalent says, I’ll eat the elephant one bite at a time. The end result will either suck, or it won’t. If it does, no harm done. I’ll have learned something, even if it’s only not to let my ambition overreach my talent.

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Comment by Dana King on May 30, 2009 at 1:07am
"Without risk there is no reward, right?"

Not if you listen to American banking executives.
Comment by John McFetridge on May 29, 2009 at 1:38pm
To me, this is the important part: "this book has potential to suck if it’s not done right." Without risk there is no reward, right?

Sounds like you're really on the right track.
Comment by Dana King on May 29, 2009 at 11:54am
That was what I liked most. I sometimes get wrapped around the axle trying to create too much of a backstory for a characters, when all I usually need is enough of their personality to create an attitude that can be translated into actions. Specifics can come as needed.
Comment by I. J. Parker on May 29, 2009 at 7:12am
I'm being horridly slothful myself -- though I force myself to look at the current page once briefly every day, and maybe add a paragraph. My excuse is general discouragement over my last novel remaining unsold and probaby never being sold because my agent doesn't like it.

Thanks for the link to Robert Gregory Browne. He's right about character -- except that I'm not really all my characters, though I try to get inside their heads a lot. I like the way he translates "attitude" into "action."

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