This week has not gone as I expected.
This past Saturday and Sunday, I hit the outlining really hard. By the end of Sunday, something inside me changed.
I’ve worked on my current WIP for well over 5 years now (I thought it was just over 3 until I looked) and amassed more than 15 drafts on it, not including the countless revisions on those drafts. In the time that it had been on submission, I wrote a sequel and had outlined the third book.
Up until this past April, I had thought everything was on track. But after lots of feedback and self-reflection, I realized my WIP still had problems and was trying to make a trilogy out of a book that should have been standalone. All was not lost. I might have wasted 80+ queries, but I could rewrite and submit to agents I still hadn’t tried yet.
That’s what I told myself. I gave myself a two-month break from the story and decided to begin the rewrite during Camp NaNoWriMo. I got through five chapters and knew something wasn’t right. I thought the problem was that I didn’t have a new outline and it was tripping me up.
I had detailed the character arcs, the plotlines, and even the timelines. But upon setting out to actually outline yet another rewrite, my heart seized. It screamed STOP. I didn’t want to do this WIP anymore. The passion for it was gone. This wasn’t the feeling of wanting to procrastinate or frustration at having to do it all over again. No, this was an all-out NO. STOP. NO MORE!
I put down the outline and pencil. I walked away and took a couple days to let those feelings just settle. But after mulling it over and truly listening to my heart, my head agreed. I was done. I couldn’t do anymore. It was time to move on. And even though I feel horrible that I’ve wasted over 5 years of my life on this without anything to show for it, I know it’s right thing to do. There’s a strange peace about it.
Up until a couple of days ago, I would have said I don’t know. But thanks to some of my fellow #turtlewriters, an idea has begun to form, and I’ve been slowly fleshing it out as it comes. The plot is still a mystery to me, but the characters and setting are coming to life. I even know the main character’s character arc already. Would you believe I have the first six chapters nailed down? It’s a strange thing so far.
I’m not ready to say what it’s about just yet. I want it to continue to grow and develop in a real story. This process shouldn’t be rushed, I know. I guess we’ll see where it takes me.