A peek inside the sequel-writing-process:

I’m having one of those days where I can see my writing flaws so clearly. I know my strengths, too, and I haven’t lost sight of those. It’s not a neurotic OMG I AM MADE OF FAIL-SAUCE day. But I can see where I need to improve, the distance between where I am and where I want to be. It’s further than I’d like, and it’s maddening.

I spent an hour on the phone with Amazing Editor this morning. I’m stuck on the third quarter of STAR CURSED. I sent her the first half and the outline; we’ll talk again Monday. I’m leaving on a cruise tomorrow, but we’ll be docked in Florida that day, so I’ll have cell service. I need to be writing on the cruise anyway — deadline approacheth! But, oh, this is such a frustrating niggling I-left-the-oven-on sensation. There’s something missing, some seed early on that will sow…what? There’s tension in the individual scenes, but the overall arc, the driving force, isn’t quite right yet. Something else needs to be happening. I know what happens in the last quarter, but it’s not building properly here. I feel like I could rearrange the scenes in this quarter and it wouldn’t make any difference, which is obviously a problem.

I always think in terms of character — what does Cate want, or Maura, or Finn, or the other primary players? Trying to think in terms of structure, of plot, breaks my brain a little. Again: writerly weakness. (Eep. Is this too honest? I think we all have our weak spots.) But it comes back to character: I know Cate’s internal struggles in this book. What is her outward struggle? How do I make her more active, her choices more fraught and consequential? What is she doing?

We’ll fix it. I have faith in that. Even when I don’t have faith in me, I have faith in Amazing Editor. And The Playwright’s on it, too. I want to make STAR CURSED the best little sequel it can possibly be. There are some scenes I’m really proud of, and I still love the ending. I’m still aiming for brutal & awesome, with kissing.

I leave tomorrow for a cruise to the Bahamas with my best friend. I’ll be gone for a week! I won’t be online much because internet is ridiculously, expensively pay-per-minute. We’ll see how I fare without Twitter (*cries*). I’ve scheduled two Thrice interview posts for while I’m gone, though! And hopefully when I get back I’ll have a solution to the dreaded third quarter!


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