The 100 Page Panic

I’m a quarter of the way through my latest work-in-process.  I have the initial incident details, the character’s goals, motivations and conflicts defined.  In my process, this is the point where I need to reevaluate everything I’ve written and loosely outline the rest of the books.

It’s also the point where I always decide the entire project is stupid.  EPIC FAIL No one will ever want to read it.  What was I thinking?  I should abandon the entire thing and start over. Ack!

For me, this is the low point of my draft.  It’s serious outline/synopsis time.  This is when I identify the midpoint, the climax, and how my main characters have to change by the end of the book. I also determine how plot and character arc will intersect at the black moment. If need be, I’ll break out the colored note cards.

Once I get past the middle of a book, the second half tends to flow smoothly.  My ducks are already in a row, and I only have to follow the outline.  Details seems to take care of themselves.

But I’m not there yet.   I’m still in limbo–and so is my story.

Does this ever happen to you?  Are you ever plagued with doubts mid-WIP?  How do you progress beyond that point?

7 responses to “The 100 Page Panic

  1. Boy, do I hear you. I’m at that same point in my current WIP – the point where I see only suckitude and life is meaningless and who do I think I’m fooling anyway? 😀 For me, I ususally have to step away from the WIP for a day or two. Then I go back and read what I’ve already written. That’s when I usually realize it isn’t as bad as I thought. When I reach that point, I’ll be able to pick it up again. For this work, I have the whole second half basically outlined, I just need to take a breath and regain my confidence that it’s all worthwhile. Unfortunately, the problem with stopping is there’s a danger it will last too long. Guess it’s time to force myself back to work! 🙂

  2. That’s where I am now. It doesn’t help that I’m writing a supernatural thriller and I’ve never done one of those before.

  3. Betsy, I know where I’m going, but not exactly how I’m going to get there. I’m fighting my way through a truly horrible synopsis right now.

    Authorguy, I commiserate.

    I guess if this were easy, everybody would do it. 🙂

  4. I often hit that spot halfway through a book, but with my latest I’m facing a big challenge at the end. This is the first time I’ve written pretty much without an outline, just figuring things out as I went along. I know how I want the book to end, but I have to get a couple of my good guys and my bad guy all together in the same place for the climactic scene. The problem–my good guys aren’t stupid and they’re not going to meet with this guy in a lonely spot unless they’re tricked or forced into it. Why did I write myself into this corner?? But I’ll continue creeping along, like someone driving in a fog who can just see a foot or so in front of the headlights…and somehow I’ll make it “home.” The ending may be just as much a surprise to me as it is to the reader! 🙂

  5. Tough spot. But I think I’m almost ready to get back to writing. I think I have most of the kinks worked out.

  6. Joanna Aislinn

    Page 14? 23? I usually run into trouble early on. Being a pantster sometimes it’s hard to get through the beginning and really establishing where my story is headed. Good luck getting through the rest of yours and congrats on your upcoming release!

  7. Thanks, Joanna!
    I too, like to write with just the major plot points outlined, but that’s not an option for this book. My agent would like the synopsis now. Cripes, this is hard.

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