I have been working on a 350 paged novel for a few years now. it isn’t that I can not finish it or can not figure out how to end it; I already did that: I know how I want it to end, and I know what I want the characters to learn from it all, but there is this reservation, nonetheless.
The real problem I was having for a very long time first of all, was that I could not figure out which POV (point of view ) to use. I started with 3rd person-omniscient (she went there; he said this, she said that, but he was thinking that, and she had already decided this, etc.), and everything seemed to be going along nicely. Then, without warning one morning I woke up edited the entire novel into a 1st person-narrator whose narration was assuming the narrator really did not know what the characters were thinking but she could decide by thir behavior what was called for. Then I changed all the names. Then, I changed the genre, from all-out literary to thriller, to romance, and back again. But here is the real doozy: I could not decide if this character was ficional or a compartmental non-fictional character of my subconscious, in which case it would seem I may be going through the back door with a memoir instead of a fictional novel. Why am I giving you a history of the pangs of creating this novel and it’s true identity? Because I am making a point here, just listen.
I was just at the point of changing the storyline from present to past tense (which I had already changed before from past to present tense) when I realized there was a major problem. The thing was, I could not figure out what the major problem was!
Whenever I get into a rut of placidity (another way of saying writer’s block), pejorative mental breakdown, or pandemic madness, I look (subconsciously, you understand) for articles, videos, movies, anything that will help pull me out from my subconscious to my conscious mind, so that I can give myself the old self-analysis treatment, to figure out just what the devil is plaguing me!
Oftentimes, I never pull it out, thereby, setting aside the story for another day (or another five years!) This behavior at some point in my life, became unbearable and I decided to look deeper and wider until I could actually put a finger on my issue, solve it, and get it our of my hair!
–and it IS an issue, believe me…
But before I tell you, let me tell you how I found my answer, because although it may help some of you, others of you may simply say “I knew that already,” so I do not want to have you more knowledgable people have to trapze around with us morons, while we discover ourselves further; in other words you may opt out sooner than those of us less inclined toward self-actualization.
What I did was listen carefully in two ways, and when I say “listen,” I am not necessarily talking about the sound of words, but I am talking more about the sound in my own head of what I am observing whether through reading, or through watching a non-fictional video, or crying through a fictional movie. I happened to be reading a different writer’s blog, and I perused longer on one thought: the theme. The coach’s advice was for a writer to journal through the working upon of a story, to keep the writer from distancing him or herelf, and to keep the writer engaged with the story, lest the story become estranged to the writer and the writer abandon it (I have done this many, many times).
I used the method of inquiry with myself I had learned for teaching middle to adult school students, and asked myself to analyze the terms, the meaning, and the purpose for which this coach displayed his arguments, in order to understand precisely what the author (wrier) was trying to convey to his audience (me.)
I have heard, of course, and a million and one times, about journaling for a host of matters, but I for some reason had not really thought about journaling about the story I’m writing about, to clarify in my mind about the plot, the storyline’s complications, the characters, and so forth. It was like an epiphany.
So I decided to simply do exactly as the writer said and began journaling about my story. Lo and behold! It works! I will be discussing the actual journal write in my other blog, the socalnovelist. blogspot, but haven’t gotten there yet: I have so many thoughts to write down in different places…as well as journaling, too! Try it, you’ll be on top of your game!!