Friday, November 5, 2010

Tangled up

I'm all tangled up. I confess to some serious doubt going on. I've been trying to take those steps forward on my novel that I tell others to take, but my knees got kicked out from under me again.

Hence this tree of scary limbs. Does it not look like it will swirl the unwary up and away?

As some of you know, I was dealt a set-back when another book was released this fall that had some similar story elements to the novel I've been working on all year. So I set to work changing my book to eliminate the common traits and focus on the those that were different. Because there are major differences. But then I read that the other author is working on a sequel and I thought, 'What if that one ventures into territory I'm in now?'

Maybe it's time to crawl in a hole and hibernate. This tree looks like a place to hide and pout.

You see where I'm going with this? Woe is me. Waaaaaa!

I don't like that. I will try to take my own advice and keep working on my rewrite.
Or perhaps, I need to take the Storyqueen's advice, as well. She advocates spending time with another manuscript, which I've neglected. It's a fun one and would give me giggles and joy if I let it.
One of my crit partners sent me a note from yet a different character I'd stuck on a shelf. "Time to dust me off. I'm ready!' it said.
Hello? Are you still speaking to me, my darlings, my dears, my other loves?


Then again, I could always try a steampunk for new horizons. Is not this tree wearing steampunky goggles?

Hope you're all less tangled up. Send me a message in a bottle. You can parachute if from an Aerocycle. I'm just sitting here seeing faces in trees.

P.S. Don't call the paramedics. It's not that bad.
P.S.S. I stepped out on my balcony to find a dawn sky of robin's egg blue with golden jet streams and wispy clouds of pink and pure white. Geese winged silently above. And I thought, thank you for the reminder that birds can fly high and clouds can be golden.


Rick Daley said...

Tough problem. I'm in a similar situation with my WIP, but I'm moving forward because I still believe there are enough uncommon elements to differentiate my work.

Dawn Ius said...

I remember having a great conversation with a NY Times Bestselling author about an idea I had for a book - I'd even flushed out some of the plot line. he listened with a total straight face, and when I was finished, I said "Doesn't that sound like a bestseller?!" To which he smiled, reached into his book shelf and handed me a copy of HIS book, saying, "It does! And it was."

One of the only of his books I'd never read *blush*

BUT, he actually encouraged me to write my story, because he said even though there are elements the same, I wouldn't write it JUST like him, and our target audiences might be different. It's still rolling around in my head. I'm just not reading his so I don't get any ideas :-)

Hope you get untangled soon.

Paul Greci said...

Good luck with whatever story you decide to work on. I think, in the end, we have to write the stories that speak to us no matter what anyone else is writing.

Love the photos :-)

Donna said...

I predict that your muse will appear from behind the branches or the waves to help you decide. I don't think anyone else can tell Hallie's story.

Dawn, what a horrifying story about a great idea!

Valerie Geary said...

Hang in there! I like what Paul said. Write what speaks to you. What moves you. Even if there's a familiar story already on the shelves, chances are yours will be quite different. Plus, readers tend to gravitate toward the same subjects...For instance, I like dystopic/post apocalyptic fiction. I could read those kinds of books all day and not get bored, even if they are the same basic idea and plot over and over. Take a deep breath. Write on.

Laurel Garver said...

That's a tough one. But your game plan sounds workable to me. However, if it leaves you feeling disspirited, taking a break and focusing elsewhere might re-energize you.

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

@Rick: I've been surprised how many people have encountered this same problem, but, then again, maybe it's not strange after all. There are a LOT of people writing stories it seems. Here's to unique voices!

@Dawn: Oh, no! That's an embarrassing anecdote, for sure.
I do read the other similar books, so that I won't go where they tread, though.

@PaulG: Thanks, Paul. And, I'm so glad you like the photos. I'd meant to put the snaggly limb tree up with something scary for Halloween, but I've been preoccupied to say the least.

@Donna: Thanks, friend. I am trying to let her story come back. I have to get my own worries out of the way.

@Valerie: Great advice, thank you. I gobble up dystopian and fantasy, too, so I need to recall that.

@Laurel: You hit the nail with the word "disspirited." That's the problem, and maybe working on a fun, light story for a bit will help lift me back up. Thank you.

Laraine Herring said...

Oh, Tricia! I feel your pain and frustration. I think it's important to remember that there are really just a few plots out there. The way an author envisions her world and her characters are what makes the basic few plotlines of humanity all different from one another. If you change the vision of your book to NOT be like something, that's the same sort of thing as trying to write whatever is selling now because it's supposed to be popular. Both are pulling you away from the vision of your book and the questions that pulled you into those characters' worlds. No one but you can breathe their lives into them. Whatever book is out there that has similar elements is not your book. Only you have your book inside.

Bish Denham said...

I say, let that old snarly armed tree catch you up in its branches and let it swirl you away. You never know what gem you may find hidden in the needles. It may be there offering itself to you,if you are brave enough to let those tendrils tickle you.

Laura Canon said...

I'd focus on what you want to do and do it. As Laraine suggested, there are only seven original plots in the universe (our universe, at least. Who know what plots are out there in other universes??!!) But if you're really feeling out of love with your original project, it's probably not a bad idea to put it aside. Without the love, you won't get much that's productive done.

Kelly Lyman said...

Oh geez. I feel for ya! Last month I was in the bookstore and saw a book on the shelf that made me stop and stare. So, I picked it up, turned it over and guess what...exactly. This is what my new project is about! So, as of now, I'm going to focus on my other WIP (last round of edits!!) and go back to this project. I was going to buy the book and read it, but I'm the type of person that gets so much inspiration from what I read/see that I'm afraid to do that. So, I'll write MY story the way I see it and read the other later. The sad thing is, I thought my story idea was truly unique b/c I'd never seen another book out there with this topic. Oh well. Good luck and you'll get there!

Paul C said...

Wonderful metaphors in your tree imagery. I wish you well as you proceed through your revision process.

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

@Laraine: Hi! Thanks for the thoughtful comment. I think I need to remind myself what I wanted to say with this story, because it's what makes it different. I also may work on something else for a bit to try to loosen up and not feel that I have to hurry and get this done.

@Bish: Yes, I need to let myself go and find the magic (not the fear).

@Laura: I think the fear of being too late got to me. I have to let that go, and find my way back to the wonder.

@Kelly: It's a shocker, isn't it? I'm afraid this is not the last time we will encounter this, either.

@PaulC: Thankyou! I shoot pictures and then find they have a way of working into my musings. :)

storyqueen said...

I think you should do both (hahaha!) Finish up the old AND spend some time with the neglected one.

If I were you, I'd get Sea Daughters queriable, start sending it out, then have some fun time writing something different.

I mean, seriously, even if the premises were similar, the books can't possibly be that much the same.



Tricia J. O'Brien said...

@Shelley: Okay. I just have to stop staring at trees and waves and walls. Ha! dontgiveupdontgiveupdontgiveup
I won't. I'm recharging, I think. Thanks, my friend. :)

The Words Crafter said...

You know, it's entirely possible that, while they may sound alike, there are considerable differences, too. Don't give up. Besides, look at all the vampire novels out there that are strikingly similar-and they're selling like crazy.

The idea of working on another MS sounds like good advice.

And I love the imaginative tree photos. Your brain is fertile, it won't let you down. If paramedics show up, just tell them that she went that-a-way!

Just Wendy said...

Tricia, it sounds like you're inside my head!

That's exactly how I feel at the moment and no amount of hiding behind bushes or hair pulling has alleviated the frustration!

I too am writing a book, which some may say, is very like another on the market. But hey, there's always going to be more than one.

Very little we read these day is made of complete originality - sadly. How many books on vampires are there for example?

Anyway, hope you come out of hibernation with fresh vitality.

PS. That tree stump does look rather inviting ...

VR Barkowski said...

Just wait until you remake your story into something truly original and the Publishing Powers That Be (PPTB) tell you it's too non-forumlaic for the market. They will then make suggestions that will turn your unique masterpiece into a facsimile of what's gone before.

Cynical? You bet.

Wonderful photos.

Keep working. :)

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

@WordsCrafter: Ha! Thanks for the fertile brain image. Now I feel like my head is sprouting like a garden. :)

@WendyQ: Hi, my friend. Sorry you have similar woes. Doesn't that tree look like it could envelope you?

@Viva: Yes, it's hard to win sometimes, but I will keep going. I'm not sure I could ever really stop, you know. ;)

Robyn Campbell said...

Pat, the last time we talked I was down and worried that I came off as uncaring (about my crit partner's upcoming debut). Which of course, isn't true. But I'm having such a hard time grasping a way to go on my query that I've been about to CHUCK it all. :( I can't imagine how I'd feel if I was you. I only have this to say: There has GOT to be another way that you can take this story.

But to help you focus, maybe you should work on something else. It might give you freedom to go over all the other possibilities swirling in your head. I thought you were headed in the right direction with it, but I didn't know this author was working on a sequel.

Can I come inside the tree with?

Talli Roland said...

I think if you're feeling in a bit of funk, try to connect with another project to get back into gear. It's hard, I know, but hopefully it will help! :)

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

@Robyn: I'd love to share my tree. :) However, I think we're both going to pull ourselves back up (and I never thought you were uncaring about Beth, not in the least). We all go through cycles. I can't wait to be on the upside again. I'm going to try to juggle manuscripts awhile and see how dexterous I am.

@Talli: Yeah, I'm thinking of multiple projects. Still working this big one and got a new slant, but I think I could use breaks for something that doesn't carry the stress this one developed.

Anonymous said...

I hope you become disentangled.

I'm sorry you feel this way. It is inevitable. The doubt creeps up on us writers. Continue doing what you love with the support of fellow writers and it will fade away.

Julie Dao said...

Entanglement is something all writers face. I'm sure you will find your way eventually! :) I love the picture of the first tree. It could be inspiration for a story, the way it beckons with its twisting limbs.

Unknown said...

You know I feel your pain. You don't know how many agents answered my queries with, "Sounds interesting but I currently have a mermaid MS on my list right now."

I wanted to jump off a bridge quite a few times.

Hang in there and keep writing what you love!


I love the narrative that you weaved with the photographs. Those are amazing trees. Regarding the setbacks, it sounds like they'll make your work all the stronger. Thanks for sharing, though--nice to hear about your latest thoughts.

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

@Medeia: It has started to fade. Part of the process, I guess. Thanks for the support. It means a lot.

@Julie: Isn't it a perfect tree for a spooky story, a fairytale? It looks so aware and sinister.

@Karen: No jumping! I didn't know that was what's happened to you. :(
We were so enthusiastic a year ago, weren't we? We'll find our way, I'm sure.

@Samuel: Thank you! I have fun taking photos and then finding the ones that fit my current musings. Glad you like.
And you're right, the work is getting stronger, so that part of it actually feels good. said...

Lots of story ideas occur to people at the same time. But like Dawn said, only you can write it the way you do.