Past Project Problems

Earlier this year, I was juggling a couple of projects. While there aren’t any real issues with Project Pinewood Falls, other than me not quite being in the mood for it right now, I can’t say the same for Project Puppet Box.

I don’t have plot problems, per se, but since my plots tend to stem directly from my characters, and I’m having main character problems, specifically, I have no confidence in the plot as a result. It doesn’t “feel right” for lack of a better explanation, and since I got out of the forcing crap business, I have no choice but to keep setting it aside.

And speaking of setting things aside, I have a story dubbed Project Chaos that becomes a bigger mess every time I touch it. I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s either extremely difficult, or the idea is just bad. Sure, it sounds good on paper, but when I try to unravel the plot, it’s just a mess.

All ideas aren’t good. Most of us know that, I think. But I’m not of the mindset that those “not good” ideas are trash. They might just need some time in the Frankenstein Lab, where they’ll become a better idea. A franken-idea. ^_^

So, it’s not like I’m throwing anything into the fire pit. I guess I’m just sick of dealing with certain things. I have a story with a first chapter that’s been written and edited and rewritten and re-edited to the point of actual madness. The last time I tried to work on it, I got about 15k words in, and I just quit. And I quit my Chaos story about 17k words in this last time. Puppet Box, quit around 30k – the second time, around 60k the first time. I have another story that I quit around 65k.

The first time I tried to write my current project, I quit about 22k in. I got too excited and jumped in waaaaay too soon. I realized I was off the rails and quit before I wrecked everywhere. It’s since morphed quite a bit on me, in a good way. In my head, at least.

I read something one time that said, when we have a lot of unfinished projects they can haunt us. If nothing else, they become mental clutter.

I tried talking through the difficult ideas, but ultimately, I just don’t know why they’re not working, and I’m past the point of caring. Like, either work or don’t. Maybe they’re just duds. I don’t care. And maybe not caring will help.

I cant tell you guys how many times I’ve given up on something only for it to pop up months later and start working. I’ve also given up and had the idea shrivel into ash. I’m good either way. I tried. That’s all I can do.

Trying to make things work just because I’m excited about certain elements doesn’t work for me. This helps me moving forward, because when the current project is done, I can just scan the plot bunny field for anything not being annoying, run my project settling questions through it, and be done with it.

I guess we can’t figure stuff out if we don’t struggle sometimes first. 😛

But I wanted to tell everyone what my working project is, because I’m trying to hold myself accountable. I’ve changed projects three times since I announced what I’m working on. I was going to work on “Pinewood Falls,” but I’m not in the mood, and I’m not going to force it. “Puppet Box” is a mess, as stated. The next project, Chaos story, also a mess. And the other one…I don’t know what the problem is. I just don’t want to do it. Maybe it just needs more time.

I hate admitting this, because I already feel like I look like a crazy person changing projects all the time, but the current project is called “Phantom Silence,” and if that sounds familiar, it’s because I’ve tried to work on it at least twice now. I got the idea in 2014, I think. I don’t know. But when I decided to work on it this time, it shut everything else out, so…I really want to stop being afraid of things that are challenging. It’s a fantasy sci-fi. I don’t read sci-fi. And I thought I wasn’t “allowed” to write this until I read at least one sci-fi book. I technically read one in May. I say technically, because I skipped part of it. I couldn’t stand it. So, I haven’t read one in its entirety in about two years.

But then I decided: who gives a crap? I can do whatever I want. This is the kind of sci-fi I would read and enjoy. So I’m going to write it. I’m going to stop freaking out. It’s not that hard. Lol! Sure, I don’t want to fail this story again. But I got this idea for a reason. If I couldn’t handle it, I wouldn’t have it. ^_^

Hopefully, my next writing update will involve a progress report. I really want to work on my fear of the blank page. My fear of starting something new. My fear of trying something new. It’s funny because my quote calendar this month has the words YOU GOT THIS in giant, shiny gold letters. 😀

8 Responses to Past Project Problems

  1. Plot hopping is so frustrating! I know because I’ve been doing it for years. Not only does it clutter the mind, but it makes that self-doubt monster shift into overdrive. I find myself wondering if I’ll ever be able to complete another decent project again. It’s silly, but so detrimental to writing. Have you noticed that as a writer our biggest hurdle is ourselves? Or is it just me?

    • It’s definitely not just you! >.< I'm determined to get off the hopping train. Like I've literally written enough words in the last year to finish three books and I have nothing to show for it.

  2. With a name like Project Chaos it was destined to drive you nuts! I guess it’s better than “Project Hot Mess.”

    How gut-wrenching to scrap a story after 65K. Technically that’s a whole book in the YA world! By the time I get that high in my word count I feel totally pot-committed (or in this case, plot-committed. *slaps knee*). To be fair though, it takes me two or three years before I pull off that kind of word count. You write much faster, so maybe it’s not as heartbreaking to start from scratch.

    I agree with you about your paranormal sci-fi. Half of Black Lilies ended up being a time travel romance (sort of) and I definitely don’t read those. I’m pretty much just a reporter here, narrating whatever my characters decide to do.

    Totally stealing ‘franken-idea’.

    • “Project Hot Mess” – haha. 😀

      It’s always heartbreaking! I could have finished a book by now if I could have stuck to something. I’m not going to wallow, but still. Lol!

      I totally feel like a reporter, too! I trust the characters, so if it’s gotta be sci-fi, then I’ll do it. It’s not going to work out any other way anyway.

      Take it! Franken-ideas are for everyone. ^_^

  3. If moving from project to project works for you, then go with it! We aren’t all from the same mold as writers. No cookie cutters here. It drives me nuts when someone tells me that I can’t possibly write like I do. Well, guess what, it works for me. And, I’m a frankie-story-stein, story skipper too. 🙂

    • I wouldn’t mind the skipping around so much if I didn’t end up with so many projects I have to backtrack on or start over from scratch. When it works for me, though, I appreciate having words on the page later! I get scared of blank pages.

  4. I don’t know what I’d do if I had that many ideas on the table–literally, I have two ideas and I’m bouncing between them, sort of. But I do think a bunch of characters and ideas crowd the mind–mind clutter lol

    • Mind clutter is right! I want a mind broom for it. I remember thinking once that I wish I had a bunch of ideas so I’d have proof that running out of ideas is impossible. LOL!

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