A Bit of a Writing Update // ft. a discussion?? possibly??

April 19, 2020

Happy Sunday!

I realized a little while ago that I haven't done a writing update in a very long time. And, since it's Camp NaNo and none of you know what my WIP's condition is, I decided that this week I was just going to spew my thoughts on writing The Inhumans (my current WIP).

Originally this was going to be a YouTube video, but that turned out to be a complete rambly mess. This post is slightly more organized, but it's still very rambly. Proceed at your own risk. XD

So, as a few of you know, for the past two years, I've been working on this duology/trilogy/series thing called The Inhumans. (I wrote a post on it about it back in 2018, but it's more than a little obsolete at this point. XD) Basically, so you don't have to go read it, it's about a boy who's attacked by this mysterious person, and through an unfortunate series of events, he discovers an entire underground society of people with superpowers.

if it sounds like a mess, that's because it is XD

I started writing the first draft in April 2018, during Camp NaNo. Over the course of the next two years, I revamped the plotline 3 times. Like, it went from being a trilogy, to a duology, to a trilogy, to a duology again. Basically, nothing is exactly the same from the original outline. except for one scene but it's like the most emotional scene in the entire book so #yikes

During this Camp NaNo, I'm working on draft three of the first book. And I've been experiencing something that I've had over the past year. It's not writer's block, exactly. I know what I need to write in the story.

I just . . . really don't want to.

It's weird - it really is. I would literally rather do anything else than add words to that manuscript - including homework XD.

I've been thinking about what might be causing it, and, to be honest, I'm not entirely sure. But I've come up with a few options.

1. The main character

For me, the main character (whose name is Ben) is not the most interesting character in the series. Is he important? Sure. But . . . he's not the character who sparks the most joy for me to write about. And I feel like a protagonist not sparking joy in the author is kind of a red flag. XD

While there IS a character who definitely sparks joy for me to write from his POV, his story is also kiiiiiiinda dark. And I don't know if spending an entire book in mainly his POV is the best idea. *shrugs*

2. Stress of the past year

Because, being fair, the last year has definitely added on stress and more things to do. And it's hard to focus on writing when you have to make decisions that will influence the rest of your life. I think that's why I haven't gotten as much writing done this year, and that's okay, I think. Right now, it's all about writing when I can.

3. Loss of passion

. . . If I'm being perfectly honest, I really hope this isn't the case. At the same time, though, I am seriously considering if this is the fate of The Inhumans.

Don't get me wrong, I'm passionate about certain aspects of this WIP. There are two characters in particular that I love to death (sometimes literally). There are some scenes that I'm really looking forward to writing.

But I've also put a loooot of pressure on this novel. This was the first book that I thought, "hey, maybe I'll publish this!" And, because my mind likes to be Very Contradictory, it then came up with 20398 other story ideas. And then focused on only those ideas.

Besides that, I've also noticed that when I go back and reread it, it's missing something. Sure, there's a chase scene in one draft that I actually do get breathless from. But I think it's missing heart.

Okay, that kind of got depressing fast, so, to alleviate that, here are my two favorite snippets from the current draft! XD

How curious that the fate of many would be decided by one swipe of a knife. this is my first sentence and I'm actually extremely proud of it. XD

Ben awoke to sirens and screaming.


So I'm not really sure what this post turned into. It's kind of just my ramble on my thoughts toward my WIP.

To all my writers out there, I'm curious - how do you know if you should set aside/shelve/move on from your WIP? I genuinely don't know.

In the meantime, I hope you all are doing okay through all this. <3 And good luck with Camp! You guys got this!


How is Camp NaNo going for you? What is your current WIP? Favorite character trope to write or read? Let's talk!

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    This is the problem I was having with Pentegreens 1 looooong before I wrote the draft I'm currently on. The problem is that I'd spent so much time on it, so much time nailed into certain ideas, that I just...couldn't do it. I was really close to ditching that idea altogether.

    Here's the thing that I think we're all afraid of: You have to be brave enough to let your characters take over on these passion projects. If they run things, the story becomes genuine. Because I think in a way, on our oldest projects, there's a certain level of comfort that we're desperate to maintain. That's part of what's made edits on TKD so hard--I hate changing things on it, because it's my baby and I keep thinking...what if I ruin it?

    But great stories are not written by taking the safe, easy way. And that's what I've learned. I don't know if that's where your struggle is coming in, but it sounds to me almost as if your protagonist is what's holding the story back. And because I've dealt with the same thing...I UNDERSTAND.

    All this to say...if you need to text me and brainstorm this, plz do. I'd love to talk to you about it, because this is a massive passion of mine.

    <3 Love those snippets! You rock, girl <3


      Oof, after reading your response, I'm thinking that this is definitely a problem of mine. "You have to be brave enough to let your characters take over on these passion projects." <-- WOW did I need to read that. <3

      (and I maaaayyyy just keep that in mind in the coming months ;) thank youuu *hugs*)

  2. I personally think I don't ever truly move on from a WIP...They're just "on a break" and I know that if I want to, I can always come back to them.

    You can take a break from it and work on another story or short stories (to keep improving your writing craft) while you put this story on the backburner. And then if this is just a burnout from working on it too long, you can come back! And if there's a problem, sometimes they're resolved by taking a break because eventually you get a plot bunny or idea and you can figure out how to fix the problem

    I actually finished my NaNoWriMo project already (And just in time too! Its almost finals week!) And I LOVE to read and write enemies-to-lovers

    1. That's very true - I think I'll take a break from it for now and just see what happens. :) (who knows, maybe by the end of the year I'll be like, "I HAD A BREAKTHROUGH" XD)

      Oh, wow, congrats on finishing your NaNo project!!!! *confetti* And good luck on finals - you got this! :D

  3. Okay, so I've actually been wanting you to talk about The Inhumans because I realized I know NOTHING about it. So, now I at least kind of know what it's about. xD

    I can soooo relate to all of this. I had a similar problem with the last story I was working on; I just could not make myself make any progress on it. I love the story and I adore my characters, but for some reason it just wasn't happening. And I kept trying to force it to happen, and, well, that didn't work either.

    That led to my decision to go back to Once Upon. I was originally planning on doing the other story for Camp NaNo, but since I was so stuck with it and I was feeling excitement for Once Upon, I thought it would be best to go with that one instead.

    I also feel you on worrying you've lost your passion for your story! My very first book I wrote used to be my #1 project. As time went on and I started writing other things (it's actually so weird to think that I used to only have one project. like what even is that XD), I drifted away from it, and now it's on the back burner. Pretty much all my other stories have priority over it now. It's kind of sad, but it just happens, I guess. *shrug* I'm not saying I'll never write it; I definitely still intend to. But for right now, I just don't have the same passion for it that I used to. (Granted, this story has been in my life for approximately thirteen years, so it's totally reasonable that I might have grown away from it xD)

    Anyway, wow, now I'M rambling. xD Obviously I'm no expert on this either, but I'd say if you feel a disconnect from your story, maybe you SHOULD move on for a while! You can always come back to it anytime, and maybe the time away will do you some good. :) But whatever you decide, I wish you the best of luck! <3


    1. Haha, if you want a more sarcastic/better description, just message me ;).

      Aaaaahhh, THAT's why you're doing Once Upon! That makes a lot of sense, and that definitely sounds like the best idea for this April.

      THIRTEEN YEARS???? *gaping* Oh my word, that's dedication! That's how the situation with The Inhumans is looking now, so maybe eventually we'll both get back to them. XD

      Haha, I love your ramblings - don't apologize! And thank you - I'll need all the luck I can get. ;) <3

  4. It was great getting a writing update from you! But I'm sorry you've been lacking motivation. That's always the WORST. Rooting out the problem is the best first step though! I'm proud of you for sorting through it.

    I have definitely found stress and life exhaustion makes me lose alllll motivation. I've been struggling with that very thing the past couple of days. I kept questioning if I suddenly hated my book but then I realized...I'm just tired. I simply need a break. So allowing yourself to step back and recharge is totally okay, in fact it's NEEDED. Your story will be all the better for it in the end.

    Although sometimes it IS the story, yes. My NaNo '18 novel did that to me. I was soooooo tired of writing it. It was the darkest, heaviest, most complex book I ever wrote and it just EXHAUSTED me finishing that first draft. But now that it's literally been over a year since I worked on it, I'm actually missing it and fired up to revise it one day!

    So yes! Stepping away, recharging, letting the story sit for a while, can honestly be a cure all. So if you need to do that, don't feel guilty about it! Some books just need to be worked on slowly and revamped a few times with plenty of breaks in between. And that's totally okay.

    I do hope you find your motivation! *HUGS* But do be kind to yourself through this. It's such a stressful time, and we definitely need to give ourselves grace and rest when we need to right now. <3

    1. Haha, gotta love that missing motivation. . . .

      *nods* I definitely don't think all this life-y stuff is helping right now. My hope is that, once this all boils over, it miiiiight be a little easier?? We'll see. XD

      I'm definitely planning on letting it sit for a while, and hopefully when I come back to it it'll feel . . . fresher? Is that the right word? XD

      *HUGS BACK* Aw, such a great reminder - thank you for this whole comment. <3

  5. Welcome to the serious part of writing. The part where you're actually buckling down to polish up a story and you're realizing just how far you have to go. It's easy to think when writing first drafts that everything is shiny and will be easily cleaned up. And for a lot of stories, they stay in that part of our brain where we'll always hold them up as "the pinnacle stories". The ones that are near flawless in our eyes.

    But this is the part of writing that isn't quite so fun. Where we have doubts because we're suddenly realizing that we have to clean this thing up. We no longer can entertain the idea that our drafts are perfect because we're faced with the fact that they most certainly are not. It's hard and can be so discouraging.

    I've felt this way more often than not with The Dawn of a Hero. A good number of my writing friends that I've known for years feel this way now that they're editing. Don't beat yourself up or be discouraged about it. It's sooooo normal and you're not alone in this. You may need a break from the story so your brain can work on new ideas to add to it. That usually is something that helps me a lot.

    If you don't yet have a critique partner, I'd highly recommend you get at least one. Having someone who knows and loves your story almost as well as you do is critical because they can suggest ideas that you might not be able to see because you're too close to your story. I love brainstorming with people through sticky stories, so feel free to reach out if you need help. I'd be more than happy to help!

    I hope that you're able to find the right answers for moving forward!

    1. *hugs* okay, wow, I have no words for the first three paragraphs of your comment. I tried to Word for about ten minutes before giving up. XD All I can say is YES TO EVERYTHING. *mind-blowing*

      Ooo, I'll definitely have to look into getting a critique partner! I don't have one yet . . . hmmmm. <3

  6. AHHH NICOLLLLLE I'm so sorry you're going through this right now, it's the absolute worst.

    Okay, here's what works for me, though ofc every writer is different. Whenever this happens to me, I usually find the best procedure is to first set the story aside for a while. Let the frustration with it kind of drain out of my system/fade a bit as I work on something else that excites me; this also lets me come back to it feeling a bit more distanced. Then, I come back to it with a fresher view, and I get REALLY RADICAL. IT'S CRAZY THOUGHT EXPERIMENT TIME. This character is boring? CAN I JUST CUT THEM. This subplot is frustrating? WHAT IF I JUST GET RID OF IT. I like this element of this thing and this element of that thing? COMBINE THEM. I don't just automatically change everything, but I allow myself to seriously consider getting rid of or majorly altering every aspect of the story that saps my passion, and it's through that process that I always hit upon several "OMG YES THAT WOULD BE SO COOL" ideas that, taken together, revitalize my passion for the story and put it back on track to be something I want to work on. (Or maybe, if you feel that The Inhumans is 90% stuff you'd want to get rid of, you can just take the handful of elements you really like and combine them with another burgeoning story idea. I've done that a couple times as well.)

    Ultimately, I'd say to not look at this as simply an issue of "to shelve or not to shelve"--don't be afraid to radically experiment with moving and changing things, both within The Inhumans and between The Inhumans and other WIP ideas, to see if you find something that feels awesome. If you find something that feels awesome, even if it's COMPLETELY different from your original plan, don't be afraid to dive headfirst into it. If you don't find something that feels awesome, you don't have to say "I will never work on this WIP again," but you can say "I will not work on this WIP again until I feel genuinely inspired." That mentality is good because it both leaves the door open for healthy future creativity while shutting it firmly against unhealthy, sad slogging.

    But whatever you do until you figure things out regarding The Inhumans, don't let yourself stop being creative! That's the absolute WORST thing that can happen because then you can start feeling like your whole writing life is in a slog and not just this story. Work on other projects that excite you in the meantime, or, if you don't have one, something that really helps me get through slogs is starting things I call "brain blop" books. These are just novelettes or novellas that I completely pants, don't care if I finish, and have no intent of EVER publishing or even letting anyone else see, so I can just sit down and word-vomit write them with no pressure for them to be good now or ever. That total lack of pressure really helps me recharge my overall writing energy, which I can apply to any projects.

    I hope any of this can help! Again, I completely understand if it doesn't, because every writer is totally different. Like Sarah said, I'm more than happy to help with editing, idea-bouncing, or just listening to your writing rants if you ever need anything. You have such a creative and clever mind, I know whatever you write will be wonderful <3 <3

    - Eleanor

    1. *hugs* I'm hoping that it won't last too much longer, but *shrugs* we'll see!

      Okay, but that method sounds PERFECT and I am 100% trying it once I come back to the Inhumans. *rubs hands* *begins seriously considering cutting the main character*

      And I've tried responding to your next two paragraphs multiple times, but I can't get past "Thank you so much for this advice - I definitely needed to hear this!" so we're going to leave it at that. XD

      Aw, thank you, Eleanor - and this definitely helped! <3 <3 <3

    That said, I have soooo been there before, with the whole I will literally do extra homework to avoid writing thing and it's NOT FUN. So I hope your writer's-block-but-not-writer's-block goes away and leaves you alone.

    Re: whether or not to set aside stories, this is quite possibly not useful info at all, but I was working on a project for a long time that...I loved? A lot? But it was long and complicated and I'd stalled. For a really long time. And so I set it aside and took up a smaller, just-for-fun type story and said I couldn't work on the old one again till I'd finished this new one and it really helped? Progress was slow at first, but I've finished it and I'm getting back into writing my old project and I'm FULL of inspiration and it's amazing. So, like, sometimes a break is just what you need, in my experience? But a break where you're still working on something creative; it's never good to let yourself slack off entirely. XD
    Anyway, I loved hearing about your project, and I wish you so much luck with it. ♥️

      Haha, thanks - I hope so too! (I mean, you know it's bad when you use HOMEWORK as procrastination. XD)

      Wow, that's awesome and actually somewhat inspiring??? And that sounds like a good plan - I'm planning on drafting a completely new story and taking an Inhumans break. We'll see how it goes!
      Aw, thank you, and good luck with your current projects as well! <3

  8. I've had problems Midway through WIPs before, and while I might not know what exactly is causing it for you, I know what it's like and I hope it gets better soon!

  9. Having a MC you love can make or break your own writing of a story. Speaking from experience: it's no fun writing about in one character's POV all while wanting to write more about a different character AND it will show in your writing.

    You can either change character POVs/MCs...or you can change that not-so-enjoyable character to something you will enjoy writing. Give them a new/different personality or change a gender or SOMETHING that will spark your interest again.

    But having a critique partner is the best thing ever. Someone you can spoil all the things to. Having another set of eyes (or a different perspective/thought process) is always sooooo helpful.

    1. Haha, definitely! And I really do think it's showing. *winces* Good times. XD

      Ooo, I might try that out after my Inhumans break! Thank you! :D

      *begins considering critique partners* hmmmm

  10. Firstly, I love that first sentence. :D :D This book sounds like something I would love.
    Secondly, I feel ya. I haven't really done any serious writing since December because senior year is kind of crazy. It's hard to make decisions for your characters when you have to sort out your own life first. :/ Writing just isn't fitting into my current season of life, but that's why I love it. Writing will always be there for me to come back to when I'm ready.

    As for setting aside a project...it sounds like you've put some major heart and soul into The Inhumans! But sometimes it really does help to take a break. And when you come back, solutions to problems that stumped you before may become obvious! Short stories are a fun way to work those writing muscles without committing to a big project. If you don't want to step away from The Inhumans, maybe you could try writing little "deleted scenes" stories for individual characters. That might be a good way to get to know them better, and it's a little less hairy than getting into nitty-gritty plot and character problems.

    I hope that you find inspiration soon, Nicole! I think that every writer (I know I have) experiences creative dryness at some point or another. Everything will fall into place, when the time is right. :)

    1. Thank you, Kathryn!! That means a lot to hear. :D
      EXACTLY! It's always comforting to know that writing won't abandon us just because we don't write during a busy time. :)

      Ooo, I love the "deleted scene" idea! I'll keep that in mind, and after my Inhumans break I'll try it out!

      <3 <3 Thank you so much for your kind words, Kathryn.

  11. I totally understand what you're going through! And of course it's different for every writer, but there's a couple of ways I might tackle a loss of interest in a story:
    1. Set it aside --- if my soul doesn't itch to edit it, or I don't even think or dream about the characters for several months, it's my muse telling me the story has done its part helping me grow, but now it's time to plant something else.
    2. Revamp --- if I don't love the main character, I cut him/her out. I change POVs. Even if you think you might not keep writing the Inhumans, daydream what the story might look like from another POV. And if you feel that itch to write, you might have found your solution!

    One last thing I might add, is that don't put pressure on yourself that /this story/ is 'the one'. If your heart has moved on, follow it. Don't push yourself to give your all for a project that might have lost its spark. I put a similar WIP aside this year for the same reason, and I'm so glad I did, as now I've found a story I've even more passionate about.

    I'm so sorry you're going through a dry patch, but I hope this helped! <3

    1. Ooo, I love those tips and will definitely keep those in mind moving forward. <3 Your words on the "itch to write" really struck a chord :D

      Aw, yay, I'm so happy you've found a story that you feel so passionate about! :D
      (and this definitely helped, thank you so much!)

  12. asdfghjklkjhgfd those snippets are SO cool!!! the first line is totally amazing 😍😍

    i totally feel you on loss of passion and thinking that your WIP is lacking something.. i've been struggling with my current WIP a lot because i recently came up with a plot bunny that won't leave my mind... 😅 but don't stress, maybe taking a break will help you in the long run.

    i really hope you're able to fall back in love with The Inhumans again!! just know that you're not alone in experiencing this <3 <3 <3

    1. Asdfghjkl THANK YOU, Ash!! <3

      Oh, no - I hope you can push past this and find the inspiration for your current WIP! (while I'm clearly no expert at this, maybe just freewriting on the plot bunny for a short time will help it settle??)

      Aw, thank you, Ash! Hopefully we can get through this together! <3 <3 <3

  13. I love those snippets! That first one is so powerful. I've been struggling with my WIP too lately. Hopefully, we'll get the drive back.

    1. Aw, thank you so much, Skye! And oh, no, I'm so sorry to hear that. But you've got this! *hugs*

  14. Oooooh, that's hard, feeling like you've lost the passion for your story. :( I've been there a couple times myself. I don't quite know when it's okay to finally just set aside a book. The way I see it is you've dedicated so much time and effort into this story, and while using it as simply a learning experience is great, could you live with yourself if you didn't complete it? It's something I think about late at night. A lot. XD
    I hope you've been doing well, crazy times and all! <3


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