Thursday, September 24, 2009

The 'I Suck' Section

Every book has it. It usually hits me around chapter 7 and holds on until chapter 9 or 10. It's the 'I suck' section. That place in the middle where I think I'll never get this book, these characters or the plot right. It's where I think I've dropped so many threads someone could knit a sweater. It's where I think I'll never make it to the black moment because right now I can't even remember what that's supposed to be. I HATE the 'I suck' section. And yet, I go through it every single time.

You'd think I'd be prepared for it...but each and every time I hit it I'm surprised. Maybe I think this time it won't happen because I'm better, I've learned more, I understand this story better. More likely it's just a part of my process that I'll have to learn to live with.

What I wonder about is whether this is a direct result of my panster status. Do I hit this wall every time because I don't really know what's going to happen next? I mean, sure, I have a synopsis but I hardly ever follow it to the letter. Maybe that's my problem. It's right about this section that I find the characters have veered me off into a new direction and I can no longer follow the road map that I had written out. I always find that the new direction is the right direction...I just no longer know where I'm heading.

Eventually I get through this. I always do. I take a few days to enjoy the headlong rush into the ending which is always so much easier to write. And then I often find that when I work back through the book the middle wasn't as terrible as I thought. Sure, it needs work - everything I write does. I am not perfect. But it isn't the load of stinky cheese that I first thought it was.

Are you a panster or a plotter? Do you hit the 'I suck' section? How do you handle it if you do? If you're a reader, do you ever struggle with doubts about your ability to do something?



Smarty Pants said...

Mine usually starts about chapter four and continues until abou four months after I've finished. :)

Playground Monitor said...

Yeah, I remember that dreaded chapter 7.

passes you a set of knitting needles

Will these help?

Problem Child said...

I'm headed there. My book and I are still in the blush of first love. The fighting and b*tching will come later...

gigi said...

I am not a writer but I imagine the chapter 7 phenomena must be about the same as when I decide to paint a room or do a large project. About half way though a project I lose my focus and find it hard to complete.

But do like we all do, roll up your sleeves and just decide to keep at it until you finish the job.
Good luck :)

Robin Cain said...

I think if I plotted everything out first, I'd have a bigger "I suck" problem. For me, the writing comes first and the characters take me in the direction they want to go. It's only after that when I look back, see the story, make the corrections, and then write the synopsis. Yes, I still have an "I suck" problem with sections, but this way I can blame it on my characters! :-)

Lynn Raye Harris said...

I'm there now. Just hit Chapter 8, and I'm wondering how I ever pulled off a book before this. Yet I always seem to do so.

Definitely a pantser. I don't even bother with the synopsis anymore. I won't follow it anyway. And it usually just freaks me out to have to write it.

Sometimes I go back to the books that have been accepted already and read through these sections. It's always better than I thought it would be, LOL.

PM's Mother said...

I am good at analogies -- have you ever taken a trip and come to a detour on your route? You follow the detour signs and it gets you to where you are going in the end. Sometimes the detour route is more scenic than the route you had originally planned. See?

Oh, heck! I don't know what I'm talking about.