Project Problems

So I said that I’d blog about my third year writing project, and here’s my first real problem.

I’ve written 6 chapters. They’re pretty average if I’m being honest, and not particularly well written.
My real problem is this –

I don’t know what to write next.

And this isn’t to do with bad plotting, because I’ve known for months what the whole plot is. I’ve planned the whole novel out, I know when characters are supposed to meet and interact, I know when certain things are supposed to happen. But here I am, and my main character is stuck in a room. She has no way of getting out. She has nobody to talk to. She has nothing to do. I’ve already described the room in my first chapter, as it’s one of the main locations.

I was essentially writing a chapter of exposition, just to boost my word count, even though it needed to be written, because the previous chapter from her POV had ended on a bit of a cliff hanger and with some character development.

I think my main problem is that I’ve completely lost interest in the story, which is a shame, because I think it’s quite a good one. I just don’t have the passion for it any longer, and the characters and setting don’t feel real or interesting enough to me any more to be able to write convincingly about them.

I’ve had to start writing 3 chapters of a different novel for my Commerical Fiction coursework, due in for November, and I’ve already written a prologue (just as an excuse to write some backstory out, whether I use it or not) a full first chapter and am about halfway through chapter 2. This story has much more going for it as well – the main character has freedom of movement, so he doesn’t have to stay in one room and try to think of things to do there. He has people to talk to and interact with, which helps his development and keeps the reader’s interest. The plot itself is much more interesting, because it isn’t so convoluted. And best of all? I’m interested in it.

It might just be because it’s new and shiney, so to speak, but the character interests me, and so does his interaction with the others. He feels more realistic, the story is MUCH more the sort of thing I love reading than my original project, and I’m already enjoying writing it.

Here’s another plus point. If I choose to write this new story completely, then I’m only two weeks behind my original schedule for word count at this point, and I can still have 80,000 words written before my project deadline in March.

One of my main worries about changing novels though, is a piece of advice I read on an author’s website.
Rick Riordan, author of the Percy Jackson series (one of my favourites) writes –

“Finally, don’t get discouraged! Writing a book is always hard work. It’s much easier to think of new ideas. You’ll get to the middle of the manuscript and you’ll think, “Oh, this is too hard. I think I’ll start another book instead and that will be easier.” DON’T! That new book won’t be any easier. Soldier through and finish.”

Who better to advise on writing process than a published novelist of at least 10 titles?

I’ve yet to go through this with my tutor, so I’m not sure what I’ll end up doing. I have to continue with both projects for the time being, just in case. But if I do decide to drop my original idea – Io, then that means I’ll only have one project to focus on, which will save time and effort, and I’ll already have written the first three chapters and a book proposal for a piece of coursework, so I have less work to do already my for deadlines.

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