I’m at a weird point in my writing process, one I haven’t been at in a rather long time: the very beginning. I’m trying to write a brand new book, in a whole new universe, with characters I’ve barely begun to conceive, and I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing. Most of what I’ve written in the past has fit into one of two story universes (my epic fantasy and my superheroes) and even when I started new books, they still fit within those universes and involved at least one character I had worked with before. Outside of the books I’ve written for those two series, I tried starting two other books that were potential works for my Goddard thesis three years ago when I started the program (I made some progress on Drowning Sarah), but I didn’t get very far with either of those. In addition, in the past decade, I’ve started three stories for NaNoWriMo that were brand new and I lost with all of them because I couldn’t get past 20-30k.
This new story feels important. I want to write it, but I think it’s beyond me. For reasons I’ve mentioned previously, I need a fresh start in my writing. I need a new story that doesn’t have any association to my previous writing life or to my previous self or relationships. I need something that I can write that won’t make me feel dragged down by the past. The problem is, every time I’ve come up with a successful new story idea, I had a writing partner to work me through the tough bits. Getting through much of this program without a writing partner was a struggle, but I had all the work we’d done in the past to fall back on and we had a brief attempt at reconciliation, during which, I was able to work out the rest of the major issues with my book. I can’t write on my own. I spent three years and more money than I’d care to think about becoming a better writer, but I still can’t write on my own.
So here I am, with a brand new story–and I need a brand new story–about something that is deeply important to me and in a way I haven’t seen in much literature and I think it needs to be out there, but I don’t know how to write it and I don’t know how to proceed with this story without someone who knows me and my writing to work through it with. I am writing random scenes as they come to me and beginning to ask the big questions about the story, consider potential plot elements, flesh out the characters and the universe, and at every turn, I come up against a massive, insurmountable wall. All the other times I got stuck, I could just look at where the characters ended up or consider what else is going on in the world at the time that could affect it or would be affected. But I haven’t got any of that. It’s like trying to build a brick house on sand.
Sometimes I wonder why I put myself through this. Accountants don’t have this kind of trouble.