I'm not going to lie: I spend a good portion of the time these days afraid that I'll never finish writing another book. Since completing That One Untitled Book That Sold In May, I've thrown myself into three new projects.
I've finished zero projects.
This past summer, I've spent the summer writing a first draft longhand for a story that doesn't have a title, but that I kind of want to call it LIVE THROUGH THIS. I didn't entirely finish my draft, but I've now set it aside. There's a part of the plot that I can't work out. My idea is that whenever I can commit to typing it all up and making these sloppy scenes start to resemble polished scenes (later in the fall, after I've completed my revisions?), the answer I've been seeking might come. I hope.
Meanwhile, I've had some ideas for the project I was working on last fall. (Working titles were JAY, KAE & ELLE, BEFORE 17, and 17 BY 17.) I have some solutions to the problems I was having before. And some of them are going to require HUGE rewrites. I'm not sure if I'm so in love with the new ideas because they're actually good ones or if it's just because I'm sick of what I had originally. I thought that having some distance (and I'd definitely call eight months off "distance") would help me gain clarity, but now I'm not sure if I trust my judgment with this.
When I think of both of these stories and what they are lacking and why I can't seem to finish them, I believe the answer is "interesting protagonists." That's a hard truth to face because I really don't want these two girls that I've put some much of my time into developing to be boring. But to me, they kind of are. And they are similar to each other, especially in that they are both doormats. Especially in that they are both more similar to me than they should be.
One thing that made writing Seth such a great experience (while at the same time being frustrating) is that he isn't like me. He doesn't see things the way I do. He doesn't say things the way I say them. He doesn't react to things in the way I would.
With these girls, I'm not stretching enough. I know this. Their voices aren't distinctive. I don't have to try as hard to understand them or feel what they feel because it's all there and it's easy.
I have to figure out how to get past this. How to begin loving my female narrators as much as I love Seth so I can write a story that truly feels worth finishing.