The first time the curse of the patchwork novel struck in these parts, it happened during the second book of my current series (Girls in Black), and it resulted in having to print out the handful of tens of thousands of words I’d already written and then writing the rest—yes, almost half the novel—by hand. And typing it all up, while adding more and more details and plot and sauce.
I call it the patchwork novel because it stems from my writing style—more about it here—which is, suffice to say, skippy, non-linear and very intuitive. (And it works wonders for my daily wordcounts—but it’s a pain for the plotting part of the game.)
It had hit, partially, because the panini was getting more serious around here at the time, and because I’ve put out two books in as many months, and because the book hadn’t been that well thought out in the first place. (One might argue that the fact that it was the second book in a longer series—six books altogether—didn’t help…) As an end result, the book was a bit weaker than I’d wanted it to be, a tiny bit shorter, aaand I’ve changed the main culprit mid-writing, which, if I might gently note, is not a good idea.
This time, though, the curse struck because the admin side of this writing business—surprise, it was taxes—took up so much of my brain that I was, basically, out of everything for almost a month and a half, during the latter part of last year. Sure, as of writing this, I’ve managed to make up for most of the words lost because of it, and at this point I’m almost at the wordcount I would’ve been had I managed to do NaNo til the end last year—but the words I do have are… scattered.
I’ve got a ton of scenes, here and there, a bit of notes for the padding in between, and I’ve written out quite a few of the more impactful scenes. (This novel, strangely enough, I have barely touched the sex scenes—those are the first to go, usually!) I’ve got usable sketches for most of the important scenes, too.
But the problem is that, about a month ago, while on a write-in with two of my favorite writing buddies at the moment, I realized that I need to change up the order the characters are introduced in the first part of the book—and a bit of the timeline alongside it, too—which means that, whatever I’ve got so far, I’ve got to rewrite, too, because stuff got shifted around so much that none of it fits all that snugly together anymore.
So here we are. I’m this close to fitting the final piece of the changed first part of the novel into the slot from which the second part of the novel stems—but I’m not quite there yet.
And I’m getting so effing frustrated with having to take special care of every single detail this early in the writing process, while working through the early scenes I’ve written last year and in the first weeks of January. If I were in the revision part of the writing party, hell, I’d be ranting about it no less, but I would’ve been expecting it.
But no. Thus, I dub thee, The Curse of the Patchwork Novel, and I recognize your arrival—and I hope that, having gone through it twice already, I’ve filled my allotted curse quota…
For this series, at least. Who knows what new and exciting curses I’ll discover once I start sliding into the next series?
Photo by Ibrahim Rifath on Unsplash.