I’ve been fighting myself for weeks with this book and yesterday discovered two of the reasons. Neither of which, once I realized them, came as a big surprise. I’m just horribly frustrated to be this close to being done enough to send it to an editor, and yet having so much trouble starting this last edit. So, what did I realize yesterday?
I’m sure it comes as a huge surprise to everybody that knows me (Not!), but I have a bad case of perfectionitis, which is the disease form of perfectionism. Everything I write has to be perfect the first time and I can’t start writing until I know it’s going to be perfect. I’m not saying it makes sense, because I know it doesn’t… but that’s one of the things that’s been hanging me up. This is the first scene of the book, the most critical scene, and it’s got to be perfect. Gladly I have already found the cure, because this is a condition that flares repeatedly… rambling. Instead of even attempting perfection, I purposefully ramble in a train-of-thought mode. “Well, she walks into the room, no she kind of ambles, and looks around… and what does she see? Well, she sees this and that.” And before I know it, I know exactly what’s going on and how to write it. So, today I ramble.
This is the disease form of lack-of-back-story, which for an intensely character-driven book is a huge problem. How can I write the story of this woman’s romance if I don’t have any idea of what her past relationships have been like? Duh! And, interestingly enough, it was a guy that pointed out this major flaw and none of the women caught it enough to be able to verbalize it as a problem. And the cure is simple… write their back-story. For this gal, I need to detail her past relationships with men and her relationship with her mother, because both are vital to the telling of this story.
The disease in which you’re so near-sightedly focused on the hero that you can’t see what’s going on in the rest of the story.
Symptom: You don’t have a clue what the hero is supposed to do next. I can’t tell how the heroine is responding… because I don’t know what she’s responding to because I don’t know how the other characters are acting and reacting.
Cure: Write the scene from the other person’s POV. You, as the author, can’t know how the hero is supposed to react unless you know what the other character is doing/ thinking/ saying. In the case of my story, two more POVs besides the heroine’s because she’s reacting to both her mother and her almost-mother-in-law.
So, I’ve got my work cut out for me, and I’m actually looking forward to starting on it.