I Can See Clearly Now

Hello, Katy Lee here. I am so excited to tell you that this coming Wednesday, Feb. 15th, I will be hosting a special blog with New York Times Bestselling author, Catherine Anderson! AND she will be giving away a copy of her latest, LUCKY PENNY, to one lucky commenter. So mark your calendars and join us this Wednesday.

Now, I am going to be honest with you all about my latest work in progress. I have created a mess. A heaping snarled and knotted ball of yarn—the kind you can’t see the sunlight through if you hold it up to the window.  I had no idea where to start to unravel and fix it. At first, I tried starting at the beginning, but just made more of a mess. All I could do was put it up on the shelf and try to move on.

I started spinning another story, but the shelved one kept falling back into my lap. And no matter how hard I tried to ignore it, I knew deep down I had to fix it. I couldn’t leave it in such dire straits. It was actually impeding on my inspiration for any other writing and making me tired just thinking about it, or trying not to think about it.

So, I took it off the shelf. I knew the only way I would be able to move on was to unravel it piece by piece, line by line, working each knot out gently and carefully.

But which knot to start with was the question. Page one was not the answer, and I love the ending, so that couldn’t be the answer, either. It was somewhere in between that needed help. So instead of editing, I went back to the drawing board.

I had to re-plot and refocus before I could rewrite. But could I handle the truth of what I found?

(Thank you Thea Devine for your post on trusting your instincts this week.)

The truth was I was being duplicitous in my story. What I typed was not what I intended my story to be about. I think, perhaps, in the writing zone, I was attempting to keep up with the trends to put out an edgy story. But, in doing so, my characters were forgotten. They made decisions that they wouldn’t have made. I was not being true to them.  And I was not being true to myself. The values I live by were missing from my story.

The Unlocked Secret:  People express themselves best when they are true to who they are and aware of how their life journey affects their work. Be honest about your work and your life. And as Thea said on Wednesday, trust your instincts.

I know I have a long road ahead of me, but I can see clearly now, and I know it’s going to be a fun and exciting trip. The truth really does set you free. Free to fix your messes and free to move on.

Question: Tell us about your shelved books. Have you ever thought of taking one down? Could you handle the truth?

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13 thoughts on “I Can See Clearly Now”

  1. I feel for your dilemma, Katy Lee. My second wip has ME snarled up! After brainstorming with my writer friends, I’ve decided to go back to the drawing board as well. But, I’m also going to work on plotting my third wip while the second one marinates, since I have so many more ideas for the third one. I’m learning to be a real writer, one who juggles final revisions, plotting and writing different manuscripts at the same time.

    Good luck with yours! :)

  2. Yup, I’ve got one of those too. In my own defense (ha!) when I started writing it I had a different, clear but rather limited vision of where I wanted the story to go and where I hoped to sell it. The book was 3/4 finished when I understood (with the help of some astute critiquers) that it wasn’t quite working. So I’ve put it aside until after my current WIP is finished. On the plus side, I think half of what I have written is salvageable. I just need to approach it from a different angle. Good luck, Katy and Jolyse!

  3. Ouch, Katy! Tough spot to be in. So often I find that it’s the middle of the story that goes awry. Our creative side takes over and we start going off on tangents or taking our characters in weird directions that don’t further the plot. To avoid that wandering that leads to a knotted/tangled mess, I’ve learned to take my WIP a chapter at a time and reassess at the end of each chapter. I ask myself if I’m going in the right direction to get to the next turning point in the story. I re-read my previous chapter to see if my characters are acting and speaking according to the nature I’ve created for them and if they are making progress on their journey. I know a lot of people say don’t edit your first draft, but I find that it keeps me from getting off track if I pay attention to the details and go back and add them in as they come to me. That’s just my process these days. It’s always evolving and I learn something new with every effort.

    I do have a few mss. that I would love to go back to and resurrect, but they are adult romances that don’t fit with my brand, so fo now, they will stay on the shelf. I do hope to branch out at some point, but probably not until I can afford to write full time.

    Great post, and good luck unraveling the story. I know you can do it!

  4. I think we have one manuscript like this. I know I do. I’m still trying to fix Galen’s book! But I also know that I will complete the book. And I know you will unsnarl your problem child too!

  5. I guess that’s what is happening to me b/c I do sections and don’t always put them into their spots. After reading the above I think I will connect the dots before I write another section. So thanks for the blog and great idea. I love the title, can’t get it out of my head.

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