Back in college, when everybody and their brother was dating and so many of us were falling in love (some more often than others), I remember being in that place where I was asked relationship advice by my friends. Having met my husband to be when I was 19, I didn’t actually have a lot of relationships under my belt, so I’m not really sure WHY they asked me, except that I was there and I was in psychology and apparently that was supposed to imbue me with insight into human nature. Or something.
Anyway, the usual pattern of these things was that whole googly eyed first blush of lurve phase, which ultimately ended when something happened that made one or the other party realize that their sweetheart was not, in fact, perfect. I referred to the first phase as the PFP: The Pre-Fault Period, during which the object of one’s affection can do no wrong. Then came the eye opener, and one of two things happened: Either they had a fight of some kind (with the other party or with themselves trying to decide if the relationship was worth it) and got over themselves and worked stuff out. Or they broke up.
I’ve come to realize that writers go through this same process with their works in progress. We have our New Shiny and it’s BEAUTIMOUS and WONDERFUL and PERFECT. We can’t WAIT to sit down and work on it every day! And that takes us through at least the first act, sometimes longer. But eventually–regardless of whether we plot or pants–we run into a wall and the PFP is shattered.
This leads to those same teary reactions of self loathing. OMG, MY BOOK SUCKS! OMG, IT’S BROKEN! OMG, I’M STUPID! [insert your personal variation here] And we’re left with those same two choices: fix it or break up.
I hit that wall last night with my current book. Sent long, rambling email to CPs who have since been talking me off the ledge. I’m still in the incredibly angry phase.
I should’ve seen it. I plot to AVOID THIS. I’m stupid. I would have seen it if not for all the stupid grown up life stuff sucking up my necessary brain cells. My book is broken. [cue excessive, uncaffeinated swearing here]
It’s not fundamentally broken. It’s bloated, has gone off on a tangent, and I’ve probably undermined part of the conflict between the hero and heroine in favor of getting all cute and brain dolly because they’re adorable and I love them and…yeah they haven’t earned that yet. Damn it.
I’m sure I won’t have to axe all 44k I’ve written, but some significant changes are coming in order to get the whole thing back on track, and I haven’t finished my few hours of allowed pity party yet and figured out how to fix it. I will. I always do, with the help of my fabulous and patient CPs. But if y’all want to send me virtual dairy free chocolate or pie, I’d be cool with that.