Today, I had the great pleasure of writing THE END at the bottom of my third manuscript. I began the story on October 1st, and had set my goal to complete the first draft by January 1st. But about 20 chapters in, I realized I had taken the story in a direction that I did not like. It had lost the original mood and shifted into a different sort of story. I went back to chapter 10, where the fork occurred and started from there. This happened again another few chapters in, and I had to reel my story back for the second time.
At that point, I figured maybe this was a book I just couldn’t write. Either the story was too out-there, or I wasn’t a good enough writer yet. I wanted to give up. I thought about giving up. I even mentioned I would take a break and try again someday. But I couldn’t. I loved the story too much.
I wouldn’t call it writer’s block, although I definitely found myself stumped several times. I am not a writer who plots and plans on paper. I let my first draft lead the way and just try and keep it on course. That’s how I have written my other two books, anyway. This book, however, was a first in many ways.
It was the first book I had written in the present tense.
It was the first book I had written in the first person voice.
It was the first book I had written in the YA horror genre.
I love this story, and I wanted to make sure it stayed with the original feeling I got when I dreamt the main story line. Although it has evolved into something I never expected–one of my favorite things about writing, especially without an outline–it still contains the elements, style, and mood I originally intended.
Currently coming in around 42K words, I am going to be spending the next two months editing, polishing, and adding scenes to bring the final count to that sweet spot of 55K-69,999K. In the meantime, I have ideas for two other books that I will get started on.
Has anyone else experienced this, when you find you need to reel your book back because it has taken a wrong turn? I’d love to hear your stories, and I’m sure others would as well.