Tuesday, April 24, 2012

And the Plot Thickens

I have been working on EXISTENCE for the past seven months. I love time travel and I love a hero, so this was the perfect book for me to write.

Lately I've been struggling with my re-writes. I knew in the back of my head that something was wrong, but I couldn't pin-point it. It got so bad that I finally broke down and talked to my husband about it.

Normally I avoid the subject of writing with my husband becasue his eyes glaze over, but I just couldn't keep it in anymore. I'm so glad I said something becasue my husband pointed out a MAJOR plot hole. It's so major that I can no longer write EXISTENCE.

The entire premise of my book is that if someone were to change past enough the world would implode and basically become a different planet. The bad guys in my book want this to happen becasue they've been alive for 4,000 years (they are immortal) and they're sick of humanity. They think that they are the people who need to re-start the human race.

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In my book, they succeed in destroying the earth. My book is pointless without this happening. Of course, the story is also pointless if these immortals can't be killed. The only way to kill an immortal (in my book) is to kill them when they are still mortal.

These bad guys were going to destroy the earth by killing Adam and Eve, it's the only thing that makes sense for my story. But then my husband pointed out that if Adam and Eve die, everyone dies, even the immortals.

He's right. I have thought and thought about how to fix this. I have thought about it for three days, and I can't come up with a solution. The entire premise of my book is destroyed.

After moping around for a few more days I decided I needed a break from that book. I've started something new and I have all of those new story happy butterflies going on right now. The only thing that is holding me back is thought that I can't seem to finish anything. I want to be a published writer. I want to work hard and get my book polished and send off queries. But I can't seem to struggle past draft 1.

The thing is, I know it's possible. I've watched you guys be amazing, and send your books off, and get awesome deals, but it's going to be a long time before I get there myself.

Any words of advice for pushing through and editing your book?

32 comments:

Donna K. Weaver said...

If you love what you're doing and it's an expression of who you are, don't stop. If you're truly in this for the writing and creative process, then you don't write to be published. That's just the icing on the cake.

Writing is one field where we can read all kinds of books and attend all kinds of conference classes on the subject, but we don't ever get good at it (hopefully good enough--whatever the heck that means) unless we do it. And do a lot of it.

Ira Glass says it all for me, and I watch this video every time I'm bummed out.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PbC4gqZGPSY

Steph Sessa said...

Your book is so intriguing! Don't give up! You can do whatever you want. Maybe in your story, Adam and Eve weren't the first people, and there were secretly people before them. Or maybe there's a way to destroy Earth some other way. You can create whatever you want because for that story, you are the god. Best of luck!

James said...

Your book sounds very interesting. I understand a little bit about what you mean. I'm also a new writer and hope to publish my book one of these days but it's taking longer than I wish it would.
Although I can't really give much advice because I'm in the same situation, I know from my own experience that my better plot lines develop after years of rethinking them.
I just keep reminding myself to be patient and keep struggling forward in the story until it's polished just the way I want it. I don't know if that really helps but I wish you well on your story.

Kyra Lennon said...

I agree with everyone who said that it's your book, so you could probably find a way to make your plot plausible. But when you've been thinking about it for so long, it often seems impossible.

Take some more time off, but don't give up! :D

Jeff Hargett said...

Intriguing premise. Maybe the "immortal gene" evolved in one of their children? Abel or Seth? Or one of their grandchildren? Killing all except the one carrying the original gene might work (and give you multiple targets.) Just a thought. Good luck on it. You'll find a way to make it work.

Emily R. King said...

I understand how you feel. The others have already offered great advice on finding a plot solution, so I'll just tell you to hang in there. You'll pull through this and be a stronger writer for it!

Annalisa Crawford said...

A couple of days is not long enough to fix a plot hole. You need to have a break, work on a short story/poem/go for a long walk/hit the gym to give your mind a break. The answers normally come when you least expect them, but try not to force them!

Good luck :-)

Erin Shakespear said...

You are a smart and talented chickadee. I'm also sure you can make the book work...you'll just have to look at it from a different angle, maybe? Or then again maybe not.

And I'm in the same boat as you...still trying to Finish. The. Book. My problem is time...there are so many little ones running around my house needing me that it's hard to find time to write! Good luck with the new book! :)

Chantele Sedgwick said...

You're smart to take a break from it. That's the best thing you can do for your story.
Even though I'm getting a book published, I still feel this way. Especially lately. I have so many books I've started, but can't seem to focus on just one. My confidence is sliding down the drain and I really don't know how to get it back. :P I won't give up, but I really need an attitude/confidence adjustment. :( Hang in there. All of us have felt this way at one time or another. You'll push through it. :)

Angela Cothran said...

I'm so sorry! Finding HUGE plot holes sucks! This is cheesy but I always say a prayer. If God can can make the universe I'm sure he can help me fill a plot hole :) And on finishing a book...I always write the end first :)

Cassie Mae said...

Whenever I get stuck like that and I just can't look at it anymore, I DON'T. I start a new project, one just for fun while I try to clear my head with the one that's giving me issues.

Cherie Larkins said...

It's always helpful to take a break and only revisit it when your emotions are far removed from the work. Then you'll be able to see it clearly for what it truly is, and hey, maybe you'll find an idea that'll make it work somehow. So don't give up. Hugs to you. :)

Jenny S. Morris said...

Oh Jen, that does suck when stuff like that happens. But you can do it. As other's have pointed out, you are creating your own myths. Your own timeline. Immortals that lived long before Adam and Eve? Immortals that were created alongside Adam and Eve? They didn't eat the apple so they are immortal. LOL. I'll stop.

There are many options and taking a break and writing something else is just what you need.

Tobi Summers said...

Ugh, I'm so sorry. I've been there and that is the worst feeling. Happy new novel feelings are a good way to take your mind off it, but don't ever get rid of what you've already done. You never know when an idea might hit you and you'll want to go back to it.

Good luck with it!

Leigh Covington said...

I wish I had some awesome words of wisdom. I do like the idea behind your book though. What I would suggest is take some time away and let it stew in the back of your mind. You may be amazed at how things work out. It will probably take some major changes, but it doesn't mean you have to let the idea die. This is where I am with my revision so I assure you it can work! :) And if anyone can do it... YOU CAN!

Sarah said...

Ah! You don't know how many times I've tried to post this comment. Last try. Then, I give up...

I have a problem with finishing books too. A BIG problem. When I finally do, I edit and fret, until I get self conscious and discouraged, and then it never gets sent out.

When I get in one of my editing "funks" the best thing I've found to do is exactly what you're already doing: moving on to a new exciting idea. I've found that when I do that, it clears my head for the problem project. I come back to it fresh, and with a different perspective on how to fix it. In fact, my greatest moments of inspiration for my books have been when I haven't been writing at all. I've been doing dishes, pulling weeds, or taking a shower. It just needs time, and a fresh perspective.

I just finished one of my books, finally (let the editing begin!). I'm determined not to fret so much this time, and actually send it out. Lol, we'll see how that goes.

You'll get Existence figured out. Just give it time, don't stress about it, and enjoy your new project.

P.S.
I don't talk to my husband about my books either. He is the opposite of my ideal reader, so none of it really interests him. He gets the glazed eyes thing going on too.

Daisy Carter said...

I have a book that has a huge plot problem like yours. It even involves time, but in a different way.

I love my story, and I keep thinking I'll figure out a way to fix it. Don't give up!

And remember, you're writing fiction. IF you want the immortals to come from Nephilim or an alternate reality Adam and Eve or something, you can. As long as it makes sense in the context of your book, it can be. I'm sure there's a way around the problem. You'll find it.

Until you do, keep writing that new MS!

Theresa Milstein said...

Hmmm, that's a big change from Darwin.

Sometimes we hit those spots. When I do, I take a little break and work on other stuff while I mull it over.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Hey, if I can do it, ANYBODY can!! That should give you great hope, trust me.
If not the manuscript you just scrapped, then another one will catch fire, and then there will be no stopping you.

Carolyn V said...

I had to set little goals for myself, outline, and then stick with you. You can do it!

Anonymous said...

You had me at time travel. As for advice on pushing through and editing...I wish I knew.

Angela Brown said...

Okay, so I know you weren't asking for ideas to make your current story work with the immortals killing off Adam and Eve, but I was wondering about something. Is it possible that instead of going back to Adam and Eve, that you take it to the Great Flood? That they can arrive when the dove finds the olive branch proving the floods were receding? Then the immortals could kill the men and take the women for their own, creating a race of "whatever" with them and continue a race of pure immortals with their own women.

Sorry, just couldn't help it.

When I'm in a situation where I need to edit to the end, it is a fierce push to just reach the end. The End is the goal I have in mind and when I reach it, I can go back and re-read the interesting "crap, WTH was a thinking and other stuff" that I wrote lol!!

McKenzie McCann said...

What if time traveling protects them from the world being destroyed? Such as, if they are in the time space continuum when Adam and Eve are killed, they can't die because they are detached from the events of time while traveling.

Just a thought. I really love your idea. It's a good combination of sci-fi and mystique.

The Golden Eagle said...

I worry about not finishing things, too. I have three written novels but none of them are beyond the first draft.

Since that's true, I'm not really the best person for editing advice . . . but I hope you find a solution for your story!


The Golden Eagle
The Eagle's Aerial Perspective

JEFritz said...

Aw, I'm sorry things are going tough. It sounds like an interesting premise. I'm sure you can think up a way to fix it if you like, but go ahead and take a break or whatever.

Just remember that it's your story and you can do whatever you want with the rules :)

Pk Hrezo said...

I like what McKenzie suggested... it's your universe in your story and you make the rules... there are always plot devices you can dream up as long as it suspends disbelief long enough to be believable. I've found that easing up on the reins and trying to relax... watch movies, read books, etc... will spark an idea of how to fix it. And I always run those things by my hubby too and he's great for the same exact reason. I bet if you watch enough time travel films, or read time travel books, something will come to you. Don't force it. :)

Lynn(e) Schmidt said...

First and foremost, DON'T GIVE UP. If you need time away from your novel, take it. But don't let it get too far out of your head :)

Writing is hard. The agent game is hard. I'm not published, I've written four novels and a memoir now, and I keep hearing the same thing "We can't connect to your characters" (Fuck you show and tell! Pah!).

It's hard to give advice without actually reading your work, but as the person above me said, your world, your rules. Maybe these immortal people talked to the serpent to get A and E to eat the apple, maybe they thought it'd kill them, not make them human. Maybe, (with the apple) there is a way to make the immortals mortal, too? Keep thinking about it though. Make a chart if you need to. Drink beer. Tea, whatever. This is your world, your rules, most importantly, YOUR CHARACTERS.

You are not bound one way or the other. You control this, little lady. Deep breaths. If you need to talk or vent you can e-mail me :)

Shannon Lawrence said...

I agree with anyone who's said that your book isn't over. Take a break from it, by all means, but I'm betting you can find a solution to your plot dilemma. I've found many solutions come to me when I've finally distracted myself with something else. Your subconscious needs time to work it through. Sometimes journaling it will help me. Just start writing about your trouble with the plot and working through possible solutions in writing. Eventually, it may just lead you to the answer.

Shannon at The Warrior Muse, co-host of the 2012 #atozchallenge! Twitter: @AprilA2Z

Tara Tyler said...

i really like your idea! i have a suggestion. what if the bad guys go back in time and have kids with eve... that might change a few things, or if they can help hitler or the cold war destroy the earth in an apocolypse where not everyone dies...

anyway, it could be good to start again with a fresh idea. as i enter contests & query, i get the feeling my book isnt a hot commodity & i may have to shelve it & work on another...

Super Happy Jen said...

A lot of time travel plots deal with some sort of paradox. Killing Adam and Eve is just another version of going back in time and murdering your grandfather.

Also you say a lot that your book is pointless and the story is pointless if the book doesn't play out in exactly this way. I doubt that this is true. Keep thinking. You'll figure it out.

Kathleen said...

What about Lilith? The myth is that Lilith was the first "wife" of Adam but she was too... independent. So God made Eve with one of Adam's ribs... But what happened to Lilith? Is there any way you can use her to fix the hole?

Katie said...

Anything can happen in your book though! I know how frustrating that sounds because my boyfriend's ideas are always much farther out-there than mine and don't usually fit with my stuff, but sometimes he hits gold so you never know!
Maybe the immortals came from somewhere else? I don't know about you but aliens have never been mine thing. But maybe there were people before Adam and Eve who became the immortals that are lost in the bible? Maybe they originate from Satan's first creations?

As far as getting down to writing it. The boy and I are starting something you might be interested in:) We're going to start hosting word wars every day. Everyone who wants to participate writes for an hour, all at the same time, and tries to write more words than the other. Turning it into a competition definitely motivates me more! We're going to be working out the details today so let me know if you'd be interested:)