As I continue to work on my newest WIP (the spy-thriller I’m calling ROGUE), and find myself doing as little as possible on EXCALIBUR, I’ve been really thinking about how my feelings change as towards my WIPs as time goes on. Here’s a look at how my feelings evolve when it comes to my projects:
OMG! I LOVE THIS!! The first stage is always the best. Often occurring during the planning stage and while I’m writing the first chapters of the novel, I can’t help that feel that not only will this novel be The One that gets me published, but it’ll be an instant best seller with a six-figure advance (which will get paid out in no time at all), and it’ll get its own movie*. I’ve got a blank page ahead of me, everything is shiny, new, and exciting. This WIP has so much potential!
Woo, yeah! This story’s great! Stage two comes about after I’ve written the first handful of chapters. It’s like I’ve suddenly realised that this WIP will take work. The enthusiasm is still there, but its dialled back a bit as I realise I’ve got a long journey ahead of me.
Must…stay…excited: The third stage bridges stage two and stage four. The passion mellows gradually during the middle of the book. I begin to realise that there probably won’t be a movie based on my novel, and maybe it won’t be a best seller. Heck, will I even be able to get it published? The once-shiny story is now beginning to show stains as I start to notice instances of poor dialogue, the odd plot hole, and other miscellaneous flaws. I start to dread the revision stage and inevitable feelings that accompany it.
I just need to make it to the end: During the last 10-15K, writing becomes a struggle. The passion is all but gone, replaced with a determination to finish because “I’ve come too far to give up now. If I shelve this thing half-written, I will have wasted 70-80K worth of writing.”
Woo! I’ve done it! …what’s next? Yes! I’ve finished the rough draft! This stage sees a surge in excitement for this story, because I’ve finished another novel. Well, not quite, but there’s a part of me that says “I’ve finished writing out this story, now what?” I never want to revise what I’ve written because “why would I want to go over something I’ve already written? I want to write something NEW!”
Ugh, I hate this: In the past, I’ve given into the feelings described above, and I’ve moved on to new projects. But the Responsible-Writer in me knows that I have to edit if I want to grow as a writer. So, I begin editing. But alas, I quickly pick up the glaringly obvious errors I missed in my previous gleefulness. The 2D characters and the bad prose makes me cringe. I don’t want to do this! I want to write something new! I feel like a kid looking out the window at the other children playing in the street**.
Kill! Kill it with fire! I make such slow progress, and the editing process seems so massive, that I lose sight of the light at the end of the tunnel. Instead, I want to print out my entire manuscript… and set it on fire. And watch it burn. And laugh. Like a maniac.
[Unknown]: Based on other people’s blog posts and Tweets, I can only assume that there’ll be one more stage: I DID IT! I DID IT! I DID! I LOVE YOU, MANUSCRIPT! YIPPEE!! Unfortunately, I’m yet to get to this stage. I usually get depressed during the earlier stages, and give in. What’s the point in working on something I have no love for?
That’s the eight stages of feelings I go through. Reading back through this post, it seems a little… I dunno, depressing. I swear it’s not all bad though. There are moments of bliss all through the writing and revision stage. And, although all seems dark and horrible when I’m pressed up against editing, the good does outweigh the bad. Honest.
So, over to you now: how do your feelings change as time goes by? Does the excitement slowly leave you over time, or do you remain happy and chirpy during the entire process? Let me know in the comments!
* Yes, I’ve already picked who I want to star in the film adaptation of ROGUE. What of it?
** This used to be me. Damn you, homework! There’s a reason my desk now faces away from the window.