Doing Away with the Discombobulation Factor

Doing Away with the Discombobulation Factor

What is it called when you have . . . 5 POV characters; 2 major characters; 10 secondary characters; countless minor characters, who are all traipsing (right now anyway) over three different continents (there are 6 altogether) in a fantasy world bursting with magic, strange creatures, and bevy of deities? You call it my current Work In Progress (WIP).

So then, what is it called when you have turned in 10 first draft chapters (about 55,000 words) of said WIP to critique group and have received back marked up pages (x3) which have yet to be incorporated into your main WIP manuscript?

It’s called a mess! Yep, that’s what I have right now, a big ole messy pile of marked up pages that are part of the larger hard copy and electronic mess.

In case you haven’t been reading our stupendous blog posts, the Write or Consequences structure has changed. And, in my humble (don’t laugh) opinion, it’s changed for the better. Part of that change is a minimum page count to turn in, and that’s been kicking my large Southern behind. You see, for me, the creating part of the writing process is the hardest and my least favorite part.

What is my favorite part, you ask? Why editing, of course. Isn’t that the case for all writers? Sorry, couldn’t help adding in a bit little sarcasm. Yes, I know most writers are just the opposite from me, but because editing is my favorite part, I have to watch myself. I have to fight against the urge to edit, edit, edit. Because if I do, I make no forward progress. Might just be a huge part of why I remain in the ranks of the unpublished, but that’s another blog for another day.

However, my love of editing is why the minimum page count with a pie in the face for noncompliance has been an excellent motivator, not only for keeping the enthusiasm for my project, but for keeping me cranking out new pages.

And now our merry band of WoC’ers have reached a milestone – the end of our first three-month period under the new structure and the new consequence. This is always a time when we must pay the pipers (as it were) and where we reevaluate our projects, our goals, and our commitments for the next three-month period.

It is my commitment that I wanted to chat about. Knowing how easily I can get caught up in the wonderful world of editing, I’ve been hesitant to spend time reviewing the marked-up pages from my crit partners and deciding whether or not to incorporate changes and/or suggestions into my manuscript.

But I’m starting to feel discombobulated. Why, you ask? And I shall tell you. Some of the suggestions made by the crit partners are minor. Typos, missed words, you know, things like that. Quick fixes.

Some comments, though, are anything but a quick fix. Whole scenes out of order, changing the way a character reacts to a situation (which, as you all know has a ripple effect), sprinkling in this and that. In short, some changes require significant rewriting. And this is what scares me.

So, though I strongly dislike the creating part, I NEED to keep moving forward. By golly, I NEED to reach THE END.

Which brings me back to my state of discombobulation. I have too many areas that need fixing. Too many areas where things must change. And these changes will have an effect on events, character reactions, and the overall story progression as I move forward. I NEED to get a handle on that as well.

The solution? As it turns out, scheduling conflicts has made meeting for crit group for the next three weeks not possible. Typically, if only one of us cannot meet, we try having that person call in OR we meet without them. If two or more cannot meet, we skip a week. But three weeks of not meeting has given us all the opportunity to review our current WIP’s and hopefully (that’s the plan anyway) an opportunity to get a handle on things and end the discombobulation-factor.

Already I have taken a stack of marked up pages and reduced it by half. Since I have a way to go until I feel I will be again ready to return to forward progress, this break has been a godsend. And for me, it is coming right at the point where “stuff happens” or more to the point, Act II more commonly called the middle. By taking some time to review and regroup, I’m hoping to avoid the “sagging” part.

Taking a break to regroup and get a handle on my WIP will hopefully set me for a more productive return to forward story progression. And, for the next three weeks, at least, no pies in the face! Damn, if that ain’t a win-win.

Lorinda Peake

Lorinda Peake wrote her first ditty when she was ten on an English seashore while visiting her British grandmother. From then on, her family either acted in or were treated to plays, skits, or commercial spoofs. In school, she wrote poetry, fables and short stories.

Years later, she tossed down a particularly bad novel and thought, “I could do at least that well.” She’s been pursuing the elusive published novel ever since. Recently, she joined a group of fellow writers who decided to cajole, bully, encourage, and sometimes baby each other along towards the publishing goal by setting real and measurable writing objectives with “motivational” consequences for non-attainment.

Lorinda loves a good romance – all the more if it is wrapped in a great fantasy setting. She lives on the Texas Gulf Coast with her husband of 34 years.

5 thoughts on “Doing Away with the Discombobulation Factor

  1. Regroup!

    Yes, I’m very happy about our break, too. Since my novella has swelled into a full-fledged novel, I’ve been struggling (still, or again, depending on how you look at it) with closing in on the Black Moment, and this 3-week hiatus has been great for giving me space to work with some different ideas.

    This week, I’m pondering going back to the original treatment of Evelyn and seeing how that plays with some new details I’ve learned about Evie and what’s important to her.

    Combobulation, ho!

  2. Discombobulation factor!!!!!!!!!!!! Is this the writing of the same Lorinda who couldn’t figure out the name on her t-shirt ” Ymmud” !!!!!!!!!!!?

  3. I like to look at it as our reward for all that forward progress. Now that we’ve kept our (as you so charmingly put it) big Southern butts in our chairs, we are rewarded with a few weeks to go back and tweak and play and enjoy the fun stuff.

    Bad news for me, though, I’ve been giving in to “life” this past week and a half, so fifty-percent of the way there, and I’ve done diddly squat.

    This morning, I found a new 2017 planner and started plugging in dates, reminding myself that I’ll need 30 new pages to submit by March 30th! Seeing it on paper should get my derriere back to work. I hope!

    1. I, too, THOUGHT I did not have a productive week because I did very little after my initial big push, but upon reflection, I’m not so sure taking a complete break is a bad thing. Walk away from your WIP for a some time will hopefully have you coming back refreshed and eager.

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