The Trouble With My WIP . . .

Girl Asleep On Her Notebook Computer

The euphoria at having written 64k words in 33 days is past. Long past. Now I’m faced with a WIP I’m not sure what to do with. It has problems. Many problems. Maybe outlining them here will make them less daunting. Or more. Who knows, but here goes . . .

Problem #1: This is probably the second biggest problem, so definitely not listing in order, but that’s okay. Free flow thinking, right? So the problem is POV. Actually it’s more like the tense of the POV. I’ve already written the rough draft in the view point of four characters, and I have every intention of it staying that way. But it is written in 1st person present. It seems to be how I like to write these days, and I think worked very well for my last YA novel. Unfortunately, I’m not sure it’s right for this one. It’s been done before, but writing multi-POV in 1st person can be difficult, because you need to make each character very distinct. The reader needs to know at all times whose head they are in. It’s only a rough draft, but I’m not sure I’ve achieved that. So I started writing in a close 3rd person past tense. That way the reader is in the character’s head, but only one narrative voice is needed. But I’m still not sure. More on that later . . .

Problem #2: There are some plot motivation holes. I don’t see this as a big deal, because I know why the characters have done what they did, I just need to sell it to the reader. It’s a case of writing fast to meet that psuedo-NaNo goal, and missing important motivations and characterization. It’s just another part of revision and I’ll add it to my list.

Problem #3: Showing and not telling. My writing style tends to be “telly”, which on my last WIP wasn’t all that bad. That character was a matter-of-fact to the point kind of person, and for her in 1st POV to wax elegantly on her surroundings would have been ridiculous. But I do want this novel to have a less stark, concise feel to it. So this doesn’t come naturally to me, but I can do it. I just have to work harder at it. And it kind of ties into Problem #1, as well as the final problem at the bottom of this list.

Problem #4: Since this novel is a YA Science Fiction re-telling of The Last of the Mohicans, I wanted to incorporate some of the Mohican culture and language into the story. There aren’t actually any Native Americans, but rather aliens on another planet that humans have discovered. But I am very worried about native appropriations. Though I allowed the Mohican language to inspire the words of my alien nation in my book, and it was done from a place of respect and in an effort to honor the Mohican Nation, it may not be seen that way. I have contacted the Mohican Nation with no response, but I will try again when my novel is finished. There is a good chance if they are not in agreement with my use of their language, I may have to make some changes.

Problem #5: So this is kind of all the other little problems that every novel faces, and therefore not a real big deal. Filter words, grammar, typos, etc. They are in every rough draft and so not particularly daunting to fix. It just has to be done and will take time.

Problem #6: So this is kind of the big one. I haven’t found my voice. It kind of ties in with the tense of the story and whether I’m inside a character’s head or just hovering over it. And it has a lot to do with my natural style of writing in a more telling fashion than showing. I want this novel to have a lyrical flow, beautiful imagery, and intense emotion. So it’s going to take work. I’m not afraid of that. I love writing, and I love learning and growing as a writer, but it does bring up all those writerly doubts we constantly have hanging over our heads, no matter how many books we write. This sounds like crap. I’m a failure. I’ll never pull this off. You know, that little voice inside your head that encourages you to throw in the towel before you’ve even started.

So I’m fighting that voice, and looking for direction. All the little things will fall into place and iron themselves out with hard work and a lot of time and devotion, but the voice, tense, POV, etc. is where I am struggling. Once I get that figured out, it’s just a matter of applying the effort to the work.

So any thoughts? Do you prefer 1st or 3rd person in a multi-POV novel? Does showing instead of telling come easy to you? Or like me, do you have to fix that tendency on edits? What about voice? Does that come naturally in the rough draft, or is it something you add as you revise? Let me know in the comments!

My WIP Playlist

My WIP PLaylist

I think it’s fairly common for writers to use music in various ways to inspire their writing. Some listen to music while writing, to get those emotional and creative juices flowing. Personally, I can’t do that. In fact my playlist is going right now and it’s making it difficult for me to write this post. Excuse me for a second . . .

Okay, that’s better. The music gets in the way of my words and I just can’t think straight, even when it’s simply instrumental. I feel like something is pressing down on my brain and all my thoughts escape me. But when I’m thinking about writing, that’s a different story. Driving long distances, going for a long walk, taking a bath, or even just sitting in my recliner and “vegging out”, having appropriate music to evoke the thoughts and emotions I want to create in my novel is very inspiring. it’s like watching a movie in your head, the one you’re creating, and adding the soundtrack.

So I thought I’d share a portion of my current WIP playlist for my The Last of the Mohicans re-telling. I have 71 songs on this list, so I won’t inflict all of them on you, but enough for you to hopefully experience what I want my book to feel like when it’s done. Most of these are relating to specific scenes or characters, though there’s a whole list that just puts me in the right mood to develop my story. So, here goes:

This one is how I want this new world to feel to the reader:

Sorry about the talk over at first, (try to skip the first 30-40 seconds if you can) but this song inspires me for Uncas and Kora:

Okay, so this video is a little bit creepy, but then so is my character, Magua. This song is for his obsession with Kora:

This video has nothing to do with my novel, but the song feels like Magua, so here it is:

This is for the final fight scene when my characters are escaping for their lives. If you’re familiar with the 1992 movie The Last of the Mohicans, you’ll see that many of the soundtrack songs line up with my own book. They just worked so great in combination with some of these other songs:

This one’s for Kael and Hawkeye:

This could be for a lot of scenes with Magua, but especially when he finally catches up to Kora, Kael and Alyss in the cave:

This is for a scene I haven’t written yet. I didn’t think about on the first draft, but I think I’ll add. Kora and Uncas listen to the people of the dome try to forget their impending dome through music:

This one is for Uncas and the others searching for Kora and her siblings. Doesn’t match the video, because the story was changed for the movie, but the song works:

And last but not least, Kora chooses her own path:

So what about you? Do you use music as inspiration? Do you listen when you’re writing, or just when you’re thinking about the story? And do you create a specific playlist, or just whatever comes on? Let me know in the comments!