A writer’s lament about a WIP that doesn’t progress.

Outside our front door.

It has dawned on me why my latest WIP is going so slowly.

Way back in October I participated in a Monsterfest in the ushobwri community on Dreamwidth. Every day for a week we posted flashfics or drabbles about different mythical beings. One of my ficlets was about a human/fae mm romance and the characters nagged me to write their full story in at least novella form, and give it a happier ending. The nagging was successful in that I decided to comply.

There shouldn’t be any problems. The outline plot (or most of it, if you forget the ending) is there already, and the characters are very real in my head. (In fact, they chatter non-stop.) But it has been going incredibly slowly. Snails would be faster. Or sloths.

The trouble is, my brain thinks I’ve already written the story. It’s even on AO3 in the community collection for 2021 – all 657 words of it. Really, really long…!!! And although I have to change the ending that’s already done, in my mind. So expanding the tale is proving very boring indeed!

I’m used, I think, to not quite knowing what’s going to happen as I write. OK, if there’s a crime to be solved I know the solution, even when I’m not sure about the perpetrator. But on the way from the beginning to the end I just watch my characters and report what they get up to.

Not this time.

Also, the story is firmly resisting any hint of a title. As a working title (well, I have to have those for files, saving and so on) I’m calling it ‘Rip Van Winkle for now’ because it’s very vaguely based on that although my human is from the middle ages. A title would, I think, make me more likely to put in some work. Who knows?

It doesn’t help that my beta is not reading quickly for reasons beyond her (or my) control. So I have nobody pushing me to write faster. Plus my usual editor has just sent back the first draft of a novel which is just begging for amendments and formatting. (Why on earth would those appeal more than writing??)

I’m nearly up to 15k words and will definitely reach at least 20k if I can ever motivate myself. So – plot, characters, location and length are all in place. It’s not exactly writer’s block.

All I have to do is finish it. (‘But you already have,’ says my brain.)

6 thoughts on “A writer’s lament about a WIP that doesn’t progress.

  1. I think it’s just that I don’t normally have any problems other than laziness… I can’t even claim laziness for this one – just a wild desire to do almost anything else! If formatting appeals, it must be bad!!

  2. I know exactly where you’re coming from and this is the reason I don’t plot out my books. Like you I have a rough idea where they’re going, but how they get there is all part of the fun. If I map everything out, my brain thinks I’ve done it all and shuts up shop! I really hope you find a way to get going again…

  3. That’s exactly it – watching your characters do all kinds of unexpected things en route to the conclusion is all part of the pleasure! I got about 600 words done yesterday… I’ll get there, later rather than sooner!!

  4. This is exactly my problem, all the time! It’s not so much that I don’t have things still to discover as I write the story, but once I’ve plotted out the beginning, middle and end – all the major events to tie it together – my brain feels like we’ve been there and done that and it’s time to move on, and why are we still writing this? It’s a huge obstacle 😦 I wonder if it’s actually very common, and one of the main causes of ‘writer’s block’ rather than just not knowing what to write about (I have never in my entire life suffered this problem, have you?) Anyway, it’s currently holding me up on the second of two Big Bang challenges this summer – it already nixed the first, but I thought I could just carry the story over…

  5. No, I’ve never suffered from the traditional ‘writers’ block’! I suspect it mostly occurs on writing courses of various levels where the subject doesn’t interest the writer and there is pressure to get it done. (Not like the pressure of a fandom challenge where the intrinsic subject matter is interesting.) But yes, I usually have very little idea of where things are going other than, as I said, knowing the way a crime might be solved. To that extent, writing is as exciting and satisfying as reading! With this I know exactly what happens and writing it out is simply boring. However, I’ve got quite a bit further… Fortunately, my beta is busy!!

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