Progress on book 4 had been humming along nicely up until I hit a wall near the end of December. No worries though, I’ve faced walls before and knew how to climb over it: BIC. Butt. In. Chair. Just sit down and write through it. So that’s what I did, trusting in the process.
Well … the process let me down this time. I plowed ahead, somewhat listlessly, and eventually found myself writing terrible, forced dialog. It was awful. I think I may have even wrote “This is awful,” in there in digust. I had gone astray. My characters weren’t acting like themselves, they had no agency in the plot, they were just kinda there and it wasn’t clear where the plot was going. It was boring. Boring to read, boring to write. I had to stop, go back and figure out where things had stopped working.
I’ve had that happen before, where I’ve had to stop, back up, and start over. But usually I lose a couple hundred words when I do that, not entire chapters. This time I ended up tossing close to 4000 words. Poof. Gone. It was a bit discouraging to be honest. At my current writing speed that’s 7-10 days worth of work. And I didn’t just lose one week due to this snafu. I ended up spending two weeks brainstorming the plot, writing character profiles, working on setting. In short, figuring out where this book needs to go.
I figured it out, not the whole thing though—that’d be too easy. But enough to start writing again. I estimate I’m about 64% of the way through the zero draft, a bit behind schedule, but the effort to get back on track has been well worth it. Plus, I think I found the title for book 4 from having to back up and figure a way out.