Monday, July 4, 2011

Where was I?

Hmmm, where did I leave off?

Summer means changes in schedules and figuring out how to find the time to get things done. School's out, and everyone's at home.

So where DID I leave off? Oh, that's right. Bones.

I'm sorry to say, did not work very well. I was able to find an end so the kids weren't completely disappointed, but it didn't work. And I think I know why.

I have now written three YA novels. And the first two, I could tell you what they're about in 5 words – the classic five-word pitch.

Chance – "Boy Runs Away, Becomes Pirate."

Gladys – "Girl Fights Pirates, Save Pa."

What's Bones about? Don't really have an answer. Not in five words, not in 50. And that was the problem from the get go. The first two, I started with a definite idea of what it was about, how it would be told, where it would go. Bones I had this idea that I thought I could turn into a story, but an idea isn't a novel. It's an idea, and I never had a firm enough grasp on it to make it work.

That doesn't mean it's over. No. I'm going to put it in the desk drawer (metaphorically, it's on the computer, of course) and let it ferment while I work on other projects. In six or so months – maybe more, maybe less – I'll take it out and see if anything occurs to me. It won't have changed, of course, but maybe I will have.

Then I'll either get back to work on it, or put it back in the drawer and work on something else.

So, lesson learned. I'm not saying the only way to write is to know exactly what you're going to do before you do it. But for me, having a good idea of what the story is and how I want to tell it is important.

And I've already got a start on my next one. Scurvy Dogs. I can tell you what it's about in five words. And I know how I want to tell the story.I know generally what happens, have "seen" a couple of scenes. I'm going to save that information for now., but I'll be sharing it as we go along.

In retrospect, most of my journal for the last few months most sound sort of pathetic. Flopping around trying this and trying that to save Bones, when what it needed was not some clever trick but more solid grounding before I ever got going. And I did learn a lot. In fact, I may have learned more from this setback than I did from the two that went so well.

Anyway, summer's here. Got some writing to do.

1 comment:

  1. I have the exact same problem with my one novel. I just can't write an elevator pitch for it. I really believe in this novel that I just can't put it away. At least you have a better approach than me. Enjoy the writing.