Plotting Along

Yesterday I completed two major milestones! This was after a year of feeling unmotivated and unfocused, with the attention span of a toddler.

First, I finished reading the final book I was assigned to judge for a national young-adult writing contest, decided on my rankings, wrote my comments, and submitted the judging results.

And much more importantly, I completed the preliminary plot outline for a book I’m writing, and sent it off to my co-author. This one has been weighing me down for months. I just have not been able to focus since the start of the pandemic. I don’t have a good reason. I haven’t caught covid-19. Nobody in my immediate family has caught covid-19, though there have been cases among extended family and friends. The pandemic has, if anything, left me more free time, not less. But I’ve been suffering from Pandemic Brain, and it’s like slogging through molasses to get anything done.

I’ve felt particularly bad because my co-author is a friend, someone I admire and hate to disappoint. And someone who has been facing serious illnesses and has every right to be unmotivated and unfocused, and yet has been incredibly productive in the past year, even in the midst of chemo treatments.

I want to write this book. I like the characters. I like the setting. I like the whole idea of it. But plots are my weak point in any case, and this one just would not come together. For months, I’ve been stumbling along in fits and starts, backtracking, reworking, and feeling lost for no good reason. I’ve been at the point where I was almost ready to send it on to my friend — but I’ve been at that point for almost a month. I didn’t need to finish the book, just to get a coherent outline to him, but it was not coming together.\

And then, over the weekend, I suddenly knew I could finish it Monday. I just knew. It was like I’d been stumbling around in the fog and then my head poked up through the mist. It’s probably because I finally got my first covid vaccine this weekend. I’m feeling more hopeful now than I have in a long time.

In any case, I smoothed out some rough edges, realized I’d subconsciously figured out more of the book’s climax than I thought I had, and ended up with a working plot summary. It’s not perfect. That climax is still sketchier than I’d like. In fact, some other parts are too. But getting the plot down is the hardest part for me, so I’m feeling like I made real progress today.

Now to see if my friend likes it.

2 thoughts on “Plotting Along

  1. Great on you for finishing the book! This sums up my writing life in general. Feels like I’m waddling through a swamp most days, and my motivation reflects that too. Here’s to finding our flow though!

    Like

    1. Thanks! But I didn’t finish the book, just the outline. Now I have to start writing the book! But I always find putting together a plot to be the hardest part of writing any novel.

      Like

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