Writing Myself Out of a Corner
For the last month or so, I’ve made very little forward progress on Addicted, my first work of fiction. I know where the story is going and how it will end. Even so, for some reason I’ve been stuck at the 40,000 word mark.
Addicted is a male/male romance novel about Josh Freeman, a middle-aged gay man who is devastated by the end of his seventeen year relationship with Ben Dixon. After the break-up, Josh moves to Washington, DC and discovers that he’s not quite as over-the-hill as he thought. He gets involved with all the wrong people for all the wrong reasons. Will he find true love?
Thanks to feedback from the writer’s group, the first 15,000 words of Addicted are in pretty good shape. I had to submit the first 5,000 words three times for help working through all the problems created by my lack of experience. The second 5,000 words was much better and only had to go through once.
In the third 5,000 words, my confidence had increased enough to try something new. I added a chapter from the Point of View of Thad Parker, the guy Josh will eventually end up with. While the idea for a change of Point of View was well-received, the group was unanimous about the need to have the second Point of View appear well before Chapter 11.
I had to back up to the first chapter again and spent the last two days working on revisions. Now there are several chapters written from Thad’s Point of View, including a new Chapter 3 that makes a huge difference in the overall story. I’m grateful to the writer’s group for their expert assistance.
The reason I was stuck, however, had nothing to do with the first 15,000 words. The problem was a plot twist about Josh’s dad that just didn’t work. Time after time I tried to write my way through it with no success. It was an interesting idea, but in the end, took away from the main story more than it added.
Today I took out the plot twist and rewrote the last few chapters. I feel much better about the direction the story is taking and now have a much clearer idea of what’s left to write and how the story will end. Tomorrow I expect to finally break through the 40,000 word mark where I’ve been stuck for so long.
Meanwhile, the writer’s group is reviewing the fourth 5,000 word section for our meeting next Saturday. I’m sure they’ll have lots of wonderful suggestions, they always do. But I doubt any will require the kind of major revisions involved with the last section.
I should finish Addicted over the next few weeks and will continue submitting 5,000 word sections for the writer’s group to review. By the time they see the end, Glass Houses should be back from the editor with suggested revisions. Then I’ll have two completed manuscripts to send around to publishers.
Several ideas for book number three are percolating around in my head. It won’t be another memoir, like Glass Houses. I can’t tell the rest of the story until I retire. While I’ve enjoyed writing Addicted, I doubt my next book will be another male/male romance, either. Once I figure out what I want to do, I’ll let you know, right here on…
My Glass House