when panic sets in

You have everything under control.

You’re first draft has been written and re-written and you finally see where things are supposed to going, precise details and all.

You have outlined your work and adjusted for discrepancies and holes. You have deleted scenes and added in missing ones.

Now, you think you are ready to take those next to final steps when you read, and comment, and then go back in and edited for voice, style, description, setting, etc.

But then you realize it: There are more holes! Hang on, my whole time frame in these scenes is off. And this scene – what does it do? It doesn’t move the story forward at all! And wait, neither does this one!

And you have to outline again, and then you find more holes and more discrepancies, and you think *#$*#* will this never ^&*%*&^$ end!!!

And your mind whirls, and you want to scream and throw something. But, you can’t, because really you’re doing all this ’cause you’re writing one damn good novel, and you’re ย taking all the steps to get to that fantastic end product.

Even if there are a hundred, a thousand steps more than you thought you would have to take.

Of course, I’m talking about me, and the part about writing one damn fantastic novel is brain washing.



16 thoughts on “when panic sets in

  1. Oh, yes. We all know this panic-inducing experience: There are more holes! Hang on, my whole time frame in these scenes is off. And this scene โ€“ what does it do? It doesnโ€™t move the story forward at all! And wait, neither does this one!

    The frequency of that does subside somewhat the more novels you write, at least for me it has. (knock on wood!!) I think I’ve become subconsciously more aware during the early draft process.

    Hang in there. Breathe. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Thanks, Cathryn! I’m hoping that will happen. I know you’ve written two novels, and three novellas (right?) so you would know!!! I’ve wondered about authors, who take years to write their first, and then poof, they start producing yearly. I think you are one of those.

      This is the first novel I wrote, but I have two. I went back to my first one, and amazed what has changed in me since I wrote it – and at the time I thought it was worked to pieces. I’ve essetially re-wrote the entire thing.
      Happy writing ๐Ÿ™‚

      1. I’ve written 7 novels. LOL! (slow learner, I guess). Of the other five, one is a first draft I’ll be re-writing next year. Another is one that, like you, I thought was worked to pieces ๐Ÿ˜‰ I’m thinking of re-writing that one because I’m still drawn to it … we’ll see.

        Happy writing to you too!

      2. wow!! 7!!! you have a ton of practice and experience!! You have only shared a few of them with us – I’m guessing the others are what you consider learning novels. I know the feeling — that’s one of the reasons I went back to it — I felt ! could do something with it, and that I shouldn’t shelve it quite yet!! Good luck if you do go back to it, just prepare yourself!! lol

  2. I haven’t tried to write a novel but I can see the rigor of it. Nonfiction is bad enough when it comes to taking a “brainwashing.” I like this. You sort of poke fun at your own frustration. It was probably fun and beneficial to write.

    1. Marvin, I have to take myself lightly! And it did feel good to tap this post out in the midst of massive frustration and post it. Sometimes I equate the feeling of writing on my blog as writing a letter and burning it, except that here I have to remind myself that other people can read it – I’m still surprised by it at times.

      Writing fiction, memoir, and non-fiction are different, but in some ways similar. I think, from the people I’ve known to do memoir, it’s excrutiating to go through journals and piece it all together if a proper time frame. And then deciding what parts need to included in the memoir – sounds like a job to me!
      Brainwashing is something I’m getting very good at! lol

  3. But look at it this way, Jennifer, YOU saw the holes and discrepancies. That means you’re doing great. You can’t fix what you can’t see needs fixing. As long as you don’t give up, you WILL get to the finish. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Thanks, Linda!!! I’ve been telling myself that ! And it wasn’t as bad as I initially thought. More holes just send me straight into panic, but they were much much smaller than the initial batch I patched up!
      I don’t see myself giving up just yet! lol

  4. I’ve got a strange analogy for you. Think of the writer as a dumb guy in a bad relationship. Sometimes he just doesn’t know when it’s over and his girlfriend has already walked out on him, already ended it, and he still thinks everything’s fine, hunky-dory, just a few more glitches to work out.
    There’s a fine line between not doing enough and doing too much. There’s also a fine line between genius and insanity. Just shows you how much I know.

    1. lol, tikiman!!!
      Yes, yes! So true – how many times it just all looks terrible because I’ve starting at it for wayyyyy too long!!
      It’s very difficult for me to know when a piece is ‘finished’.
      But, I don’t think it’s quite over yet in this case….but I’m seeing the end. Is the querying part the break-up part then? lol

  5. This has *never* happened to me…ahem.

    I think tikiman has a point, though. Sometimes we start to see things that aren’t there. Breathe.

    It is a damn fine novel you’re writing.

  6. I think we must be leading parallel lives or something Jennifer, because I’m editing at the moment and know exactly what you are talking about!
    I love Tikiman’s analogy, it’s pretty spot-on. I feel like that guy in a dysfunctional relationship…LOL ;D

    1. OH NO!!! lol.
      Ach it can be soo challenging to stay pragmatic and clear headed when editing for too long!
      Just keep that shiny end in sight – we will get there!!!

  7. I’m another parrallel-life-novelist-in-midst-of-the-editing-and-formatting-process. On some days I think my novel is great and my vision is unbelievably clear and another day I think it is complete trash fit for the garbage bin or a stove fire. Your post (and some others’ comments) was carthartic for me. Must have been the same for you. Head on. I will.

    1. It is so reasurring to read that others are feeling the same as me – misery loves company is certainly true! lol.
      I hope it’s more positive than negative for you. Those days were it all seems like garbage I tend to step away, I don’t want to ruin something that isn’t already broken. Good luck and I wish you happy and productive editing!

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