Saturday, May 26, 2012

When Your Work-In-Progress Stops Talking

Sometimes you don't see eye to eye

I'm having problems with my work-in-progress.  We've stopped talking. 
But before I tell you about all the bad things in the relationship, let me tell you about the beginning. 
Back then, everything was good.
We met in the most unexpected way. I was driving home from a weekend visit with my Mom and Dad when I hit traffic. Lots of traffic.
There I was, sitting in the car, not moving at all, somewhere around exit 105 on the Garden State Parkway, when "blammo!" I heard a voice. I heard a first sentence. I saw a character. She told me her name. There was another character. He told me his. And a place! They showed me where they lived. It was somewhere I'd never been. Then more people came into the story. They talked and talked. 
Fortunately traffic was horrendous. The normal three hour drive took over eight hours so we had lots of time to get to know each other. By the time I got home, I was breathless. After saying a quick hello to my husband and the dog, I raced the to computer.
Over the next few weeks, it was magic.
My w.i.p. told me secrets. There were some turns and twists. There was an ending. It was exactly the type of ending that this story should have.
A few days ago, I went to my computer expecting words to flow, but instead of talking, there was silence.
Not a peep. 
At first I thought it was a blip. I was patient. But the next day, it happened again. And then again.
"What did I do?" I asked. "Did I take you in the wrong direction? Do you want to go someplace else?" 
But there is no answer.  I've tried nice music (We're working on a play list). And chocolate (many many kinds of chocolate). I've talked very sweetly to all the characters.
No matter what I do, I get nothing.
Our time together is stressful. The joy is gone.
Another story whispers. It's just a chapter. But it wants me to write it. I feel like I'm cheating. Yet how long do you stay with your uncommunicative w.i.p.? How do you know when it's time to give up?
For me it comes down to belief. I still have faith in this story. And I think there's something there that wants to be told. 
Now if only I can convince those characters . . .


Mirka Breen said...

Great minds think alike... My latest blog post is about talking to our characters.
If your characters spoke when you least expect it, seems you need to relax and them come back.

nanmarino said...

Thanks for the advice, Mirka. Nice to know I'm not the only one who waits for my characters to speak. I'm hopping over to your blog now.

Kelly Hashway said...

When this happens to me, I write out of order. That usually helps me get past what's tripping me up. Good luck!

I'm a new follower.

nanmarino said...

Thanks for following, Kelly. And thanks for the advice. That could work. I know where I need to get so maybe I just need to move ahead a few chapters.

Anna Staniszewski said...

I was dealing with this a few weeks ago. Finally, I decided to give myself permission to take a vacation from the WIP and it was so liberating! I'm now happily working on something else, and I have faith that I'll come back to the old WIP when my brain is ready to tackle it again.

Good luck!

nanmarino said...

Thanks Anna, It's always hard for me to know if I should put something aside or if I should crawl through it for a while. I'll keep you posted. Hope your writing is going well.