I Lost My Mind On Page Twenty-Five

Sometimes writing makes me crazy, you know the part of the book where you are quite sure that there is nothing you can do to make the plot work. Or, when you characters have taken over and run off with your story…usually somewhere around page twenty-five.

I’m a parent of four awesome kids, I didn’t sign on for adopting a full cast of stubborn and willful characters. I’ve tried giving them time outs, that doesn’t work. I even tried killing them off, after all I’m a suspense writer.

So I resort to what I know, pulling my hair out, screaming irrationally at my computer and finding a brick wall to hit my head on. All for an imaginary world that doesn’t exist that controls my thoughts.

What do I tell my husband when he catches me walking around, slamming cupboards and muttering under my breath? I lost my mind on page twenty-five. If we’re lucky, I’ll recover when the book is finished. If not, tell my kids I love them.

He just looks at me and smiles. As if he knows that everything will be all right. After all, this isn’t my first book and I recovered after the last few.

By the time I hit page 100, I am therapeutically  caffeinated, my eyes glued to the computer screen with a maniacal grin on my face. “Take that you crazy villain.” Yes, I have resorted to talking to myself and my imaginary characters.

On page 200, I am sniffling and reaching for the tissue box. My hero and heroine are in a dark moment and they dragged me along with them. Despair slams me in the gut. My poor imaginary friends. I cry some more.

As the end approaches, I am euphoric. I have scaled the mountain, made something brilliant! I will be the next New York Times Best Seller. I can hire a maid and buy a house in a tropical location.

Then it is time to edit. A few scenes in, I am searching my office for the paper shredder that landed under my debris field of research. There is only one cure for this mess and that is slice and dice.

The phone rings, it is my critique buddy. “Put down the shredder!”

“But my manuscript is beyond repair. My characters shallow. The story world nonexistent. The plot sagging.”

Critique buddy, “We can work this out. I will help, if you just put down the shredder. You’ll see, we’ll polish it to publication.”

Me: “You really think so?”

Critique buddy, “Yes, now put it down before you do something you’ll regret.”

I put down the shredder, get to work and finally finish the edits.

One last step, hitting send. It sounds so simple, but requires two pounds of chocolate, one call to mother, five cans of mountain dew and the loss of at least six pounds of sweat. Then I do the unbelievable. I hit send.

My husband is grateful, my children asking if I have a contract now and I am a limp noodle feeling as if I just did a 5K run. The crazy thing is my sanity slowly seeps back in during the week break I give myself.

But wait for it, cause I just opened a new document. Page 25 is just around the corner.

What crazy things do you do when you are writing? Or what crazy things do you do when you are in a project you love?

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About Michelle Lim

Author Michelle Lim is the Brainstorming/Huddle Coach with My Book Therapy Press and the Midwest Zone Director for American Christian Fiction Writers. Michelle’s romantic suspense is represented by Karen Solem of Spencillhill Associates and has gained contest recognition in the Frasier, the Genesis, and the Phoenix Rattler, winning the Genesis in 2015 for her genre. Michelle writes devotionals for The Christian Pulse Online Magazine and Putting On The New. Since her nonfiction book release, Idea Sparking: How To Brainstorm Conflict In Your Novel, through public speaking and online chats Michelle helps writers discover the revolutionary power of brainstorming to bring new life to their stories.

4 thoughts on “I Lost My Mind On Page Twenty-Five

  1. Once I actually tied my hands behind my back (if you think that’s not hard…)and laid on the floor so I could see if I could slip my hands in front of me…just to see if my character would actually be able to do that. And then didn’t use it because my character went in another direction. lol
    Love this post!

  2. Michelle Lim says:

    That is absolutely hilarious, Pat! We are a crazy lot, us writers!

  3. Melissa Tagg says:

    Hehehe, this is hilarious.

    What crazy things do I do…? Um, for starters, I’m waaaay more emotional about writing than pretty much anything else. I can burst into tears so easily when something isn’t going right in my writing.

    I also talk to my characters…and “as” my characters…going back and forth with the dialogue. I have also been known to act out scenes.

    And eat too much.

    Or not enough.

    And drink bucket loads of caffeine.

    Other than that, I’m totally normal.

  4. Michelle Lim says:

    You fit in with the rest of us “normal writers”. LOL. I think it is great that you act out scenes. Wonderful idea.

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