Hitting the First Big Block


(Click to enlarge)

Last night I passed 20,000 words on the re-write. If I look at the uncompleted drafts in my pile of works, I see a trend in the point where I stopped working on them.

Res – 24,595
SS – 23,142
Kin – 31,000

The 20k-30k place is where I stumble. It’s where my motivation and excitement of the potential of a new story wanes, and I realise it’s not as awesome as I wanted it to be. And I doubt many first drafts ever are.

Looking at the last three NaNoWriMos (see image above), I stumbled around 15-30k in 2011, made much steadier progress after 30k in 2012, and looking at 2013 (Kindling) I hit 25k on day 14 and then it took 10 days to reach 30k. I didn’t even complete the story– I had to add more to a different story to complete the wordcount in time.

Now I’ve hit 20k in my re-write, I’m feeling the loss of momentum in the story, and that space is filling in with fear of all the looming plots I need to pull together. This is where I need to re-read the story from the beginning; to do a quick line edit so I know where I am – to finish the scenes I’ve started and then I can check the course of my plot for future ones.

But the motivation is fading, and I’m itching at a new story. I’m catching images as I drive in my day-job and I have a few phases of a ‘sekrit project’ going on. Easter’s coming up and I have very little clean washing to wear…

But I have finished stories. I have pushed through this block before; in fact I’ve passed the 30k mark and gone on to complete at least 50k five times. More if I count the redrafts of those projects.

So that’s what I need to do — to re-group, to read what I have, to find joy in the potential again, and then write towards it.

Do you have a trend in your blocks?  How do you break free of them?

4 responses to “Hitting the First Big Block

  1. Totally. My blocks come about 1/3rd to 1/2 way though the story. I’ve pushed past it several times, though, only to go back and wind up re-writing again anyway. Not sure what the solution is really but I’ve passed the 1/3rd point this time and still going strong. I’m thinking that this mid section is about upping-the-ante for each character – piling on the pressure and asking myself why they end up doing whatever dramatic thing it is they’re going to do during the climax. I find that’s helping me!

    • That’s great that you’re still going strong on this re-write. I’m spending today matching up my outline to the scenes already written and checking for cohesion which has me excited about the story again. I need to focus on upping the ante for my characters more, actually – it’s not something I consciously do much (but should!).

  2. Planning, that’s how I get through them. Mid-way through is always my stumbler too, as I’ve usually deviated just enough from my original plan to not know what comes next! If I can sit down and plan out the ways to make life more difficult for my protagonist I get excited again because I’m a bit of a sadist that way! 😉
    Keep going, sounds like you know how to push through!

    • This is pretty much what I’m doing today – returning to the plan and my outline and cross-referencing what I’ve actually written with what I meant to write. We all do it — although I prefer to think of it as focusing on the potential of a character to overcome such odds as exciting!

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