Shannon Stacey

When stupid attacks

I’ve been slowly chugging along on my non-DG action-adventure romance, also known as the most flat, boring book ever written. Insert big, dramatic sigh here.

I know it’s the first draft. First drafts are allowed to suck because otherwise it wouldn’t be a first draft. But, for me, a flat story with no discernable voice usually indicates my story is broken somewhere. And it is.

The premise is stupid.

Not implausible. Not unlikely or dependent on coincidences or cliched or any other writerly label. It’s just plain stupid.

So my theory is that, while my conscious brain has been chugging along, trying to use the first draft excuse, the muse wasn’t showing up because it was inevitable I’d realize my premise was stupid.

(Side note: mentioning a muse has lately been one of those things that opens a writer to ridicule and mockery. I can ony speak for myself, but I’m guessing this might be true for many authors: The muse isn’t some divine spirit that courses through us, making us vessels spilling blessed words onto the page. It’s simply an easy, four-letter shorthand word for the subconscious melting pot where much of the grunt work of writing is done.)

Now that I’ve (reluctantly) admitted one of the primary elements of my premise is stupid, I can fix it. I’m hoping it can be fixed without a lot of rewriting, but…

If it does, it does.

(I’d like you to reread that last sentence, but read it while doing an impression of Dolph Lundgren as Ivan Drago in Rocky IV, with his fake Russian accent, saying “If he dies, he dies”, because that’s how it came out in my head as I typed it.)

Now I just need to figure out how to fix it.

6 comments to “When stupid attacks”

  1. Tymber Dalton
      · September 10th, 2009 at 10:11 am · Link

    Go talk to your characters. Seriously. Spend some time trying to look at the problem through their eyes. It might sound stupid, but if you work backward from your characters’ points of view, they might show you an easy fix. Or, any sort of fix. *LOL*

    Good luck. I’m facing a similar situation with one of my books, but it was from forgetting where I was going in a later book and writing myself into a corner. So now I’m stepping back from that m/s for a while to let an answer show itself. (And it will. It always does.)


  2. Jaci Burton
      · September 10th, 2009 at 10:13 am · Link

    Welcome to my world at the moment. You’re not alone.

    It’s always good to know others are suffering the same as you. I feel so much better now (not really)

  3. Charlene
      · September 10th, 2009 at 11:51 am · Link

    Melting pot that does the grunt work is EXACTLY right. And argh on the stupid. Fortunately, you can probably fix it, now that you know where the stupid is.

    Been there. Done that. :doh:

  4. HelenKay Dimon
      · September 10th, 2009 at 4:34 pm · Link

    Seems you’re suffering from a serious case of…being an author. I’m betting the first draft is fine and that you’re just too close to see it. So, kick the muse’s butt (agree with your definition, btw) and get back to work. It will be awesome. :type:

  5. Shannon
      · September 11th, 2009 at 10:07 am · Link

    I am totally banging my head on this one.


    This funk needs to END! Bah.


  6. Jill Sorenson
      · September 11th, 2009 at 8:04 pm · Link

    I think it helps to say stuff out loud. I’m always trying to explain the stupidest ideas to my husband, and it doesn’t hit me until I hear myself talking.

    Me: “I know it sounds dumb, but it isn’t because blah, blah, blah.”

    Him: silence

    Me: “Hmm. Maybe I should rewrite that part.”

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