Yes, that is the sound of my engine stalling. My writing engine has been stalled for a while now. I still make progress, but not nearly at the rate I want to be, and it gets incredibly frustrating. Especially when I know that I have people awaiting the second book. It’s such an amazing thing to have people anxious for my story and my characters… I know Rennie would be so pleased (well, Maia would be pleased. Rennie would be a little mystified by that, I think).
I notice myself getting lots of mental prep done (which is a big part of it for me… I do most of my writing in my head and then just translate to paper… anyone else do that?) and then suddenly I’m chasing plot bunnies, or distracted by the fact that I haven’t stumbled onto the perfect title yet, or cruising around Pintrest and Polyvore wondering what Rennie would be wearing whilst running through the forest at 2am with Ethan.
When I buckled down and got to work on Drawn In to finally finish it and get it out into the world, I had a set schedule and I made myself stick to it. I’ve been lacking in that sort of discipline lately and it definitely shows. So here I am, publicly stating that I am setting a schedule for myself. Hear that, world? I’m on the move, so watch out!
Love triangles get a bad rap in the YA world these days. Personally, as a reader, I enjoy them. But I enjoy them within certain parameters. They have to be well done, well crafted. They should be an interesting and fun (and sometimes agonizing!) part of the plot, but they should not BE the plot.
I read a comparison once that aptly depicted this distinction for me. Basically it said that without the love triangle, the Hunger Games is about a girl fighting for her life in a televised fight to the death and accidentally sparking a revolution. While Twilight without the love triangle is about a girl who moves to a small town where it rains a lot.
I knew that I would be dealing with a love triangle of sorts in my second book. What I didn’t know is how much I would LOVE writing it! It has been so much fun, and I’m finding some elements and depths of characters that I didn’t expect which is always a bonus. I rarely write in order anyway, I write what is most pressing, or whatever is loudest in my head. And these days when I sit down to write, I find that it’s almost always the triangley bits. I’m sure when I’m putting it all together and doing my editing, I’ll find that I have way more than I actually need. But that’s okay too. Maybe I’ll release a “director’s cut” version of my book with the deleted scenes. Ha! 🙂
So what are your thoughts on love triangles? What is the BEST one you’ve read?
So, as it turns out, writing book two is hard. This isn’t a surprise, per se. And yet… it is. You see, when I was writing book one, there was a lot of time spent in learning the basic craft of the writing itself. A lot of time in re-writing and editing and deleting and finding my way. There was also a LOT of time spent figuring out my very basic plot elements. Drawn In was based on a dream that I had, and that dream remained the basis of my story. But, as dreams tend to be, it wasn’t complete. It wasn’t a story. So that was difficult in its own way, but I’m not dealing with that part of the process now. I know my story, I know where I’m headed, and I am really comfortable with Rennie’s voice now. So those things are coming easier, for sure. However … now I’m dealing with a whole new set of issues, and some of them are a little unexpected. Here are a few things that I’m learning as I write book two:
- Action and plot are not the same thing
- A love triangle does not have to be central to the story, but it’s SO much fun to play with
- A quirky first line is not as useful as a functional first line
- Minor characters from book one DEMAND equal page time in book two (if not more)
- Names are important
- Details are important
- People have Expectations now (and I like it!)
- I love love love world-building
Such an interesting thing this writing thing is, and I’m so happy to have this as a part of my life. It’s funny to admit, but you know what? I kind of feel like a writer now.