Thursday, May 20, 2010

The In-Between

Last month I wrote about my frustration with revisions – the process I love to hate. Hate because I’m impatient. Love because the scenes that came out of my last round of rewrites are some of the strongest in the manuscript. Even though there were times I wanted to pull my hair out, there was something comforting hanging out with characters I knew so well I could order their drinks for them before they arrived for our lunch date. I had a purpose.

Now I feel as though I sprinted through a final leg of a race and crossed the finish line only to find there’s nothing there. Just me, bent over and panting, sweat dripping down my face and wondering, okay, now what?

It’s not for lack of ideas. I have several, but here’s where my impatience starts to bare its jagged teeth. I don’t want to start a new WIP. I want to be 100 pages into a WIP. Like, yesterday.

The in-between bothers me more than any other part of my process because this is the time when my fears and doubts come out and form a virtual conga line around my desk. Can I really pull this off again? What if I get 30 pages in and find out I’m wasting my time? What if someone writes a better book in the meantime with a similar plot? Besides, none of your characters have fangs, wings, or fur, so how marketable do you think this will be? On and on and on.

I know this too shall pass. I’ll trick myself long enough to get some real work done and lo and behold I’ll have 100 pages, something to work with, new characters who will become old friends. Until then, I’ll just have to deal. I’ll go to movies, read books, work my muscles to fatigue at the gym, hang out with writer buddies and talk about things we writers talk about, and try not to be too upset that Casey James got voted off of Idol last night. Hopefully, while I’m doing all of that, my subconscious will be cooking up a meaningful plot, so when I get my butt back in my chair, the blankness doesn’t swallow me whole.

So how do you spend your in-between time? Or are you lucky enough to have no idea what I’m talking about?


  1. Robin,

    I love the in-between time. It does feel blank for a while but it doesn't last because I think of all those ideas jotted down or short proposals to self on a grand idea or those old manuscripts that are really a good idea just waiting to be resuscitated.

    Your in-between time I know is short. You have such a great grip on the life, culture, head and times of teenage girls that I know you have a new intriguing heroine about to emerge!


  2. Eileen - You have always been a cheerleader and champion, thanks! It's funny how whenever one portion of the writing process is annoying to one person it is a favorite of another. If I can chill out, the in-between time can be pleasant. I think the fact that summer vacation (= limited writing time for me) is coming makes me feel a little breathless at times. But, it's all good. I have an idea that's starting to bubble over, so hopefully this will lead...somewhere.

  3. I always wonder "Can I pull this off again?" And prefer to be 100 pp. into a draft, because I liking revising better than drafting. Other than that, I use in-between time as vacation. So I like it. :)

  4. Anyone who can write blog posts with such a distinct and carefully crafted voice, need not worry about the next project.

    Go, Robin!

  5. I envy you, Robin. I can't wait to achieve in-between status! I'm still working on the umpteenth (and, I swear, last!) revision of my first WIP. (*&%^$&% etc.) When--if!--I finally achieve a state of in-between-ness, I will dance a conga line around myself! (I have no idea how this is even possible, but I will try.)

  6. I spend a lot of time thinking about future projects. I throw ideas into a file. I don't know exactly what I'll choose to work on next, but I hope one of those ideas can be fleshed out into a story.