This is My Brain. This is My Brain on Plot.

This post is dedicated to Terri Thayer, for listening and not once telling me I’m crazy.

What my brain tells me when I announce that, in the second draft of this WIP, we may be dropping one entire, MAJOR plotline:

  • Wow!
  • Wouldn’t this be a betrayal of Character X? Who just happens to have been a real person in real life that you totally love and admire and want to write about?
  • Hold on!Ā  Does that mean you don’t have to finish the 1st draft??!!!
  • You could buy fewer index cards for the re-plotting party.
  • You’d be writing less broadly and more deeply. That would be a good thing.
  • Are you just copping out? Is this just the cowardly easy easier road to take?
  • Does this mean you’re thinking of a second book? Another historical fiction? You swore there’d be no more historical fiction!
  • You’ll cry more, if you write it this way.
  • This story is supposed to be about the girl and her mother. Have you seen the mother on the page yet? No, you haven’t. Because that other plotline keeps getting in the way. Get back to the mother.
  • You’ve written almost 250 pages, and now you’re telling me it’s a different story?

What I tell my brain:

  • Shut up and let me write.


  1. Terri Thayer says:

    Best reason: You’ll cry more.

    Oh yeah, baby.


  2. nrhatch says:

    Ha! You’re crazy. šŸ™‚

    Good luck!


  3. You swore there’d be no more historical fiction!? : (

    Sounds like major work is going on in your writing cave.

    Just write!


    • beckylevine says:

      Only on certain LOW days, Joyce. I love the reading, I love the thinking–but there are days I just want to make it all up! šŸ™‚

      I think the work is going on in the Oh-boy-I’m-going-to-have-to-REVISE-this-soon cave. Working on just writing.


  4. Love, LOVE this! Glad I’m not the only one who tells my brain to shut up! šŸ™‚

    P.S. Brilliant title! (subtitle: Just Say No)


    • beckylevine says:

      It takes me a while to get to the “shut up,” but all that bouncing around inside can’t be good for my skull!


  5. Jeanie W says:

    I find it very exciting when the story I’m working on wants to be different or be told in a radically different way. And I mean exciting in a tear your hair out and scream kind of way.

    Will I ever finish this novel?


  6. Dawn Simon says:

    Something similar happened to me. I think I was on page 187 at the time. The happy news: I’m already seeing my book is better.

    Good luck, good luck, good luck!


  7. claudine says:

    I had a sewing class in high school. I made a dress, start-to-finish. The seams were flawless and ironed flat. I lovingly covered each button. The style was attractive and unique.
    I wore it once because it did not fit and I refused to re-do *one* thing on it.
    Go, Becky! I hope I can be as courageous and committed as you are.



  8. nrhatch says:

    BTW: LOVE the title for this post! šŸ™‚


  9. Jenn Hubbard says:

    If we haven’t seen the mother because this other plotline gets in the way, are you sure you don’t want to write this plotline, and maybe drop the mother instead?

    I have no idea, of course. I’m just asking. šŸ™‚


    • beckylevine says:

      I know, that’s what it looks like–but the mother/daughter problem is the one that’s keeping me thinking and intrigued. I’m pretty sure it’s trying to fit the other plotline in that’s making everything feel all clunky. Keeping an open mind, though, and writing to the end–and, yes, maybe there will be a second book. Thanks for the reality check! šŸ™‚


      • I was going to ask the same question! But that’s a good answer, Becky. Often when I mean to write about Thing #1, but I wind up writing about Thing #2, it means Thing #2 is where my book is. But sometimes it just means that it’s where my book *was*. Or just that I’m an eat-your-veggies-first kind of person, even though I’m dying to get to the good stuff. (Note to self: Sometimes it’s okay to skip the veggies.)


        • beckylevine says:

          Amy, it is a good question. And it’s one I’ve thought about a lot. Which is why there MAY eventually be a second book. I think the main reason this other plotline has been driving the story is that it has a very clear, ACTIVE moment of crisis (which is what gave me the idea for the story originally)–and that’s what I’ve been writing toward. But in “exploring” through this draft, I’ve really fallen in love with other stuff going on in Chicago at the time and with my MC’s connection to it through her mother & her mother’s fear. So, after I finish this draft–where I will write through that other crisis (to see things through), I think I’m going to go with the love for a while! In other words, at least put the veggies into a tupperware!


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