So, it happens.

You spend two years working on a novel, and you hit a point where arcs don’t connect. You feel nothing – but contempt – for your characters. And, every possible edit you can dream of won’t work, because the time and the place and all the little clever elements (or so you thought) will only come together one way…or not at all.

What do you do? Admit failure? Put it on a shelf?

I wonder at my own ego, and the belief I can produce anything meaningful, anything of value. Who do I think I am?

If I were honest with myself, maybe I could write. But it’s hard cursing some poor fictional character with all your garbage. It’s hard letting all the ugliness come to the surface so you can turn it into ink.

It’s hard looking at myself now, almost fifty, with how little I’ve accomplished. The one success I can claim isn’t truly my own; the strength of my nearing-20-years marriage has far more to do with my husband’s grace and forbearance than anything I’ve ever contributed. Let’s face it: I may not be drinking, but he’s still married to an alcoholic.

It’s hard looking back on my own childhood – the fuel for my novel – because what I see now isn’t what I saw when I started. I see a girl who wasn’t just socially awkward, but book-smart and empathy-poor, and who talked down to everyone (whether she intended to or not). She earned all the bullying she got. Granted, no one taught her ‘the rules,’ but I don’t feel sympathy for her anymore, only anger.

And so, I’m stuck. Like me, my main character’s arc is a half-baked mess. I’m not sure how I’m going to fix my novel, or if I should.


4 thoughts on “Blocked

  1. Kieran says:

    I got no advice for you. I have a hard enough time figuring out the “real world” let alone create a fictional one. I will say people I don’t like are often more interesting, so not liking your characters may be a sign of a good book. Side note: I’m not sure if anyone deserves “bullying”, but I do think some low levels of bullying can make people stronger.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sean D. Layton says:

    Not sure what words of advice to offer about the book. I know what you’re going through – I kept tweaking and rewriting and making a muddle because the clever things no longer worked with the changes. Started to hate myself as much as my characters. I think I was putting to much of myself into my protagonist instead of letting him be himself. Don’t beat yourself up. Maybe step back for a moment to get some perspective.

    Liked by 1 person

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