When To Whip The WIP

So, I decided before going on holiday that on my return, it would be head down for the rest of August to finish the first draft of the current WIP.

The trouble is twenty five thousand words in and recently I've had these other characters, from another book idea totally, demanding to be heard. I put them on the back burner months ago because the voices from the WIP were coming through louder. Now it seems they're being bullied into submission. And I hate it.

I've thought about combining them - somehow introducing these loud beasts - but they just don't belong in the WIP. I've tried to ignore them. And yes, I've thought about dumping the WIP and writing the 'other book idea.'

That's when I started to cry. On a beach in Spain. Sobbing. Weeping. Loud, snotty, unattractive tears. With hubby nearby, who works sixty hours a week, trying to remain patient and calm, when inside he was probably screaming as loud as one of the noisy intruders. He did try and help by suggesting maybe I was reading too much- allowing too many other author's distracting characters into my head space??? Hmmm... Nope. The noise was from my own imagination... All loud and bullish and quite frankly, rude.

My WIP is my third book. And the truth is I'm putting enormous pressure on myself for this to be 'the one.' I know everyone will say to just relax; write what comes naturally, what feels right - but I feel like the girl who's waiting for Mr Right? You know that friend we all have, who was waiting and watching for HIM to turn up and as soon as she allowed herself to be comfortably single - he walked right into her life. I'm still in the nervous watching and waiting period.

I figure I need to allow myself to be comfortably unpublished.

And I need to finish my WIP because it's a story I want to tell and I'm loving the characters. It's called 'Motherlove' and who knows if it will be the one? But writing about it here, fills me with joy and I just know I have to finish it.

Meantime, I have to find a way to silence the noise. Ear plugs? Listen to music? Take a pill? Bribe them? Say, 'Hey guys, look - just wait? I'll get back to you in September as soon as I'm done with these people here. I promise. Okay?'

Ooh, they were quiet as I wrote that. Bribery and pleading might just work?

If not, I'll play them music of the Nickelback kind. That'll teach 'em.

(Thank you to the wonderful Debbie Ridpath Ohi for permission to use one of her 'Inky girl comics'. Do visit her website at Inkygirl.com)


Anonymous said...

Tricky one this, and I feel for you, Fionnuala. What I do is try to get those voices out of my SPACE, rather than out of my head. I do a fair amount of airtravel and carry a fat notebook with me for those loud non-WIP voices. If they are loud enough to be heard as I sit crammed in a crowded airport cafe, or stuffed into a low-budget airline 'seat', they are loud enough to be written. And when I get home, they're not there!
(PS. DO get a notebook, though. Writing on the sick bag makes fellow travellers nervous...)

Debs Riccio said...

I hear you sister! I have become so comfortably unpublished that I'm asleep most of the time - now THAT's comfortable!
Also, I get those shouty coices too - and until I commit what they're saying (just the bones, a snippet.. what my English teacher would have called a "plan" pppft!) they won't go away. They're all safely stored away in a separate folder I like to call "ideas" and they seem fairly comfortable where they are, too. Bless you for the snotty beach thing x

Susie Nott-Bower said...

I agree with Anon and Debs - WRITE THEM DOWN!!! They're only shouting because they want you to give them some attention. Like noisy kids - you don't have to give up your life (or your WIP) for them, but they do need to know you care... Keeping them in a folder is like having a secret (growing) present for yourself when you've finished your WIP.
Sorry it happened on your holiday, though,and hope you're feeling better now.

Emma Darwin said...

Great piece. Me too - I give them some space in a notebook, and a half-hour while I'm waiting for the the washing-machine-man, or a train, or whatever...or some such time it wouldn't work to open the WIP for.

Then they're safe - part of the shouting is your panic that they'll melt away. And like a child who's finally got its parent to LISTEN and responsd, they'll then potter off quietly to watch Postman Pat, and leave you in peace.

Caroline Green said...

Agree with everyone else...you MUST write some notes Fi...this is obviously a really strong idea and you don;t want to let it slip away...might quieten them down enough for you to get back to the WIP?

Fionnuala said...

Thanks everyone - I'm already an avid note taker so they've already been 'written' as such - so what now?!!!!

Anonymous said...

OK, take a day out. Write those voices flat out - 1st chapter, last chapter, middle, random scene - until you run out of steam. Now put them away and see what happens. You may have to keep on doing this throughout your WIP and why not? There's no rule against it. Just tell those voices - firmly - that they are playing 2nd string for now. They'll get their moment in the sun as soon as you're ready.
PS. I'm not Anon, I'm Gina - but my Google account doesn't want me to be me today, so I'm Anonymous: Nice one!

Karen said...

I know this feeling and have ended up starting to write what was going to be book 3 instead of continuing with book 2!

I'm really enjoying it too so I know I made the right decision, but if you can shut your shouty voices up long enough to finish your current wip that's probably the way to go. Offering them chocolate might work :o)

simmone said...

I get this all the time! I decided to take turns with the books - I think it is because you will always hit a tricky patch and that's when the siren song of other projects comes calling. I'd recommend writing on option 2 for a week and see how far you get - you might find that a snag in THAT ms makes you run back to the original WIP (hope that's not confusing - I blogged about this a couple of weeks ago so you could always go there for clarification.)
keep going!!