Monday, January 14, 2013

Parenting Your WIPS

I want to start off by announcing our winner!!!


Email me at with your address and I'll get Speechless in the mail to you!

On to the blog post - I have been struggling with my current WIP. It's all over the place. I haven't been able to figure out why I'm having trouble with it. It's a great idea. I have fun writing it. I love, love, love my characters. But it's never taken me this long to crank something out. I've been very start and stop and start and stop.

Daughter B (soooo tiny!)
It hit me over the weekend that I'm trying to parent this book the same as my others and it just isn't working. I had a flashback to a conversation with my brother about my nieces and nephews. He was frustrated because what worked on Daughter A was clearly not working on Daughter B. Daughter A is a ballerina - she dances through life up on her toes, gracefully twirling through any situation that gets thrown at her. Daughter B came into this world with a bang, weighing just over a pound after not wanting to spend much more than 20 weeks in the womb. She's been on a mission to just bulldoze through life since she took her first breath. She walked earlier than they said she would, she talked earlier than they said she would, and she doesn't have a single of the disabilities all the experts said would surely come with being born that early. She's non-stop motion. Where Daughter A is tea parties and dress-up and quiet, indoor voices, Daughter B is smash-up, throw-down and laugh at the top of your lungs until your heart bursts whether you're inside or outside. Two beautiful girls. Two very, very different personalities. Daughter A does what she's told, when she's told to. Daughter B questions everything and has to get all the right answers before she agrees to do what she's told. My brother said that it took them 2 years to realize that Daughter B was not problem. They were. They were trying so hard to parent Daughter B the same exact way that they parented Daughter A. Of course it wasn't working - they were two different people! They've been adjusting their parenting style over the past six months and they're seeing much better results.

Doesn't Daughter A look like a dancer?

Hmmmm, perhaps I need to adjust my writing style?  Book A was written with a very indepth outline. As I started the book, I stopped at various points to outline some more. I had notebooks full of notes and ideas. When I finished the first draft, I did another outline. That changed the book completely. I dove in to some serious rewrites. When I finished, it didn't look a thing like the first draft. But it worked for me and I was done with it (and all the rewrites) in six months.

Book B was NaNo, baby! I started on Day One and wrote all the way through to the finish. Then, I set it aside at the end of that month.  I came back two months later to discover that somewhere in my laptop crashing and The Hubsters motherboard frying, I'd lost a good deal of the book. I dusted myself off and plunged forward NaNo style again. It worked very well for that book. I did two rewrites on it (after gussying it up with post-it notes - add this here, mention this here, tie this in here, etc.).

And now we're on to Book C. Started for NaNo. With notes. Didn't make it through NaNo, though. I wrote 20,000 words and decided that this book needed to start sooner. I'm big at jumping into the action, but it didn't fit this story. This story needed to start a bit sooner. Was it a mistake to go back instead of finishing the book first? Maybe. But back I went. I put 6,000 words on to the beginning. It changed the tone of the book. Made it much darker and creepy. Now what? I started to take what I'd already written and add it on, but I'm rewriting as I go - and I'm very, very anal with rewrites. Down to the word. So I'm having trouble getting through each chapter that I add back onto it. I take forever analyzing it. I am at the point where I admit that I no longer have control over this book. I tried parenting it like Book B and it did not work. I tried outlining it like Book A, still no luck. I have to adjust my parenting style, but I'm having trouble 1) accepting that, and 2) finding a style that works for me AND for this darn book. I'll figure it out. I'm starting notes and scenes and flushing it out. I'll get there eventually but the process on this book is going to be so different from the other two. And that is okay. I can parent them differently because they aren't the same story.

What about you - is your writing method always the same? Do you switch it up from story to story? Any words of wisdom for me?


  1. That is a spectacular analogy! Each story truly demands a unique approach - but I hadn't thought about it in such detail! :)

    So happy to hear about Daughter B crashing through those obstacles and limitations - made me all teary eyed :)

  2. That makes sense, especially if the stories are really different or the genre is different.
    Mine have all been in the same series, so there hasn't been a big difference. But the age of the character and the situation have dictated different handling of each one.

  3. Love your analogy! I've found that even with writing additional books in a series, they each have their own way of being born into the world. Some just whoosh on out and others come, kicking and screaming.

    Good luck with finding whatever method works for this book. Just don't compare it to its siblings!

  4. Makes total sense, dude. Never thought about it that way! You are changing it up from the other styles, aren't you!? You'll get it, girl, and I absolutely cannot wait. It is an AWESOME concept and you are an amazing writer! You'll nail it! Just be patient and keep trying. This is a great post w great points. May explain my problems and slow momentum...hmmm...

  5. I used to outline, but now I just dive right in--it helps me stay excited about the book I'm writing, and I actually end up revising less. Your nieces and nephew are SO adorable!