Wednesday, June 30, 2010


I’ve been working on updating this blog and my manuscript and that’s why my posting has been MIA.

Quite frankly the background html coding for my new layout is giving me a migraine and I can’t work out why the darn thing won’t go where I want so I gave it up (for the moment) to return to my current MS, and get your tissues ready, you’re about to see the 36K on my writing progress bar drop to about 9K.

Insert sob here ;)

I wish I could claim I was being hard on myself, and overly dramatic but the truth is that I’ve just repeated mistakes from my previous rejection letter, which is unforgivable.

The fact is that this is a bit of a trend with me. Chapters 1 to 3 I really like, the rest goes to hell in a hand basket. The internal conflict is suppose to drive the external conflict but somewhere in chapter 4 I go on an external conflict spree, massacring the manuscript and making it torturous to write and, more importantly, read.

I deluded myself through about 20K, telling myself I was tired and that every writer has days where the words just won’t come. Yep, 30K worth Lacey? I don’t think so. Ahh how I miss my bubble of delusion now ;).

So the question is why isn’t my internal conflict strong enough to carry? The problem is that it should work, of the many, many M&Bs I’ve read similar conflicts have been presented and worked.

Is it my process? But I’ve tried everything from plotting in extreme, frightening detail to dangerously pantsing it. Next on my list is to try tearing my hair out…

Unfortunately, I’m so sick of the darn thing right now I’m finding it hard to be an advocate for it (and this is after a week break, because cutting 30K isn’t something I take lightly). I have three more weeks until the date I wanted to post the proposal which may be doable since I have some time off but ONLY IF I WORK OUT WHAT I’M DOING WRONG (very important hence capitalization, be afraid).

I’m missing something, I know I am, of all the texts and articles I’ve read on conflict I understand the concepts, I understand the drive and yet…

So the questions arise. Am I writing for the wrong line? Perhaps the wrong genre?

Is anyone else in a tussle with their latest and greatest? All venters welcome.


Aideen said...

Hi Lacey,

I'm not sure if you're aiming for the wrong line necessarily, I just think that from time to time our currents wips don't rock our world. Like you I tend to suffer from the first three chapters syndrome too, when everything is new and shiny and just begging for attention. Moving onto chapter four can sometimes feel like a whole new story for me because my characters beging saying/doing things that I wouldn't have dreamed possible during chaps 1-3. If I'm brutally honest, and I'd like to be, I think what's happening to us is all down to character. We don't know them well enough. Sure, I know my hero is hot, confident, courageous, generous etc but really, what do I know about him when I strip away the fixtures of his present? Do I truly know his past? When did he last cry? Why did he cry? Did he have a pet as a child? If he really wants to aviod relationships, why on earth is he pursuing the heroine like a man possessed? What makes him tick and why is the heroine the ONLY woman who reaches him on such a deep level? There's an answer to all these questions hidden somewhere in his character and it's our job to unearth them. Tough isn't it? Some days I'd rather have teeth pulled than figure out one of the people in my head. But they're just too powerful for me to ignore.

When I'm having a particularly bad day I ask myself this question; Do I want these two people to have their HEA? And the answer is always yes, of course I do. Because they deserve it, if they didn't, I wouldn't bother. And until I give it to them they're going to stay nattering in my brain and making me a little more crazy ever day!!!

Best of luck finding your stride,

Caroline said...

You are very brave in slashing so many words! I *hate* editing and would have nightmares if I had to cut so much. But I predict that the revised ms will be much stronger for it. Caroline x

Judy Jarvie said...

Huge hugs Lacey. You can and you will master it.

Speaking as someone who's hit more than a few potholes I sympathise and I know how you feel. Gutpunched.

But...I know you'll do it. For me reading Dwight Swain was a major turning point. Wish I'd found it before (recommended by Michelle Styles). The epubbed book I did came out fully formed and just worked (only thing was I didn't know why and so couldn't replicate!) Doh! Anyway I had to go back and try to piece it together the hard way. Dwight's Goal Conflict Diasaster helped loads as a route map. Plus it helped me focus on 'making the disasters' ones with emotional impact. Rather than pretend plot points. I'd never thought of this before.

Of course proof of the pudding would be my ability to sell Nanny book. Em...not quite so easy. But whatever happens to nanny she helped me learn better what I did by accident the first time. So it's gotta be all to the good. Read Dwight. That's my advice!

Hugs jx

Jackie Ashenden said...

Lacey - if you want me to take a look at your conflicts or something I'm happy to. Internal conflict is what drives MH so I'm getting the hang of it. I do find articles and things are great for the theory but can never apply it to my own ms until someone actually does it for me. Does that make sense? Up to you though.
I'm at that point with my synopsis if it's any consolation.
Email me if you like at coates dot jackie at gmail dot com.

Anonymous said...

Keep going Lacey, you'll get there in the end! xxx

gaelikaa said...

Writing is hard, hard work and many people don't understand that!

Monique DeVere said...

Hello, Lacey,

Just thought I'd drop by and say "hello". What a beautiful blog site you have!

I'll tell you what I tell myself. Once you get the hang of writing totally focused character-driven internal conflict, bashing out these stories will be easy.

I know how hard it is to keep the plot from taking over. Just look at it this way: if your story is packed with romance, you won't have room for much plot :D


Lacey Devlin said...

Aideen - Thanks! It's good to know I'm not the only one suffering from the three chapters syndrome! You could be right about those characters I'm definitely looking into it!

Lacey Devlin said...

Caroline - I don't know about brave :) This is more of a last desperate resort which I'm actually rethinking. It might be the scraps folder for this particular MS.

Lacey Devlin said...

Judy - Would you believe I hadn't come across Dwight Swain before? Now his books are popping up everywhere! I think there's a lot more reading and very little writing in my future until I sort this out, because as much as I want to write I'm not willing to risk another disaster! Thanks for Dwight!

Lacey Devlin said...

Jackie - You're an angel! Actually I would jump at the chance to have you look at my MS but in trying to fix it I've only made it worse so it's actually quite an embarrassing piece of work. I'd like to see someone write the storyline as poorly as I have! ;) Perhaps in the future I can harass you, or sob all over you, whichever comes first?

Lacey Devlin said...

Gaelikka - People really don't understand how hard writing is and I really believe that category romance is the hardest.

Mel - Thanks!

Lacey Devlin said...

Monique - Thanks for visiting! You've given me two very excellent points to think about. If only that internal conflict wasn't so elusive! You've also given me a lightbulb moment: "if your story is packed with romance, you won't have room for much plot". I'm sure I have been neglecting the romance and that is part of the problem :).

Suzanne Jones said...

Hugs Lacey. It's hard when you have to hit the delete button - I've been there myself more times than I care to remember.


Kaily Hart said...

Hi Lacey, gosh your post just about tore my heart out. Writing is hard and most people don't realize how difficult. I also think category is incredibly difficult. There are so many guidelines and while there's not a formula, the story and the characters have to unfold in a certain way. Queue the conflict. THE most important thing in a category romance, of course. Getting it right and balancing it is the bane of evrey writers existance. It seems you're already self aware about where some issues might be. A good step, right? If you've spent such a long time on this one and slashed so much and you think it's not working, perhaps you can use it to write something fresh? It might be a fine line (rewriting/restarting), but perhaps something that's new could trigger more enthusiasm about it? It sounded like you were done with this one?? There's probably a lot of material you could re-use. I did this once. Started a new MS but leverage a lot of what I'd done before. It helped the mindset with how to approach it. Anyway, just a thought. This self awareness will just make for a better MS which ever way you go from here!!

Lacey Devlin said...

Thanks Suzanne!

Kaily: I have to say I'm still torn with what I'm going to do with this MS. I've thought about starting over, mixing characters, simplifying conflict but the characters like who they are thank you and as always you worry about over simplifying the conflict. I'm hoping the magical way to fix it will just come to me (helped along by research) ;).

Jackie Ashenden said...

Lacey - I don't have to look at the ms (can understand your embarassment. I hate CPs looking at things I've made worse too), but if you want to discuss the conflict and what's not working with it, harass away. ;-)

Lacey Devlin said...

Thanks Jackie! That would be great :)

Sally Clements said...

Hi Lacey, one thing I've found quite useful is to do a list of scenes. I do it in word, and its very brief, but it works for me to get a handle on what's going on in the tangly spagetti that my ms becomes. If you like, I can send you a page showing it? It shows POV per scene, and the scenes in each chapter. Doing it this way really has brought me some 'aha' moments too. Like Jackie, I'd be happy to look at anything for you, and give some more concrete feedback, my email is

gaelikaa said...

Put it away and look at it with fresh eyes later. Your solution will come.

Lacey Devlin said...

Sally - My original comment had disappeared. Blogger keeps gobbling them up, I think we've grown apart.

I would love to see how you untangle scenes because I really think that this is where I'm failing. You're an angel for offering to put yourself through reading my work. I hope you and Jackie don't regret it ;). Will be emailing you both soon. Am uploading new blog today.

Lacey Devlin said...

Thanks gaelikaa! It's certainly been put aside.

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