Return of the 40K Word Slump

A short post today, because I’m fighting a sense of panic that I’m lagging behind on my current work in progress, even though I don’t have a scary deadline and I’m almost half done. I’m in that 40K word range, which is unfortunately where I tend to hit a slump, so I think that’s likely a factor in my vague sense of alarm. The 40K mark is like a bandaid that needs to be ripped off. I just need to get it over with!

I feel like I’m writing this book slower than my last one, but I think it’s because I’ve also done more early revisions than usual. I always do rolling edits, so by the end, it’s not really a first draft because I’ve already gone through and fixed most of the places where I missed a word or somehow said ‘taunting’ twice in the same sentence. (I ashamedly fixed that one yesterday). Sometimes I think of it as a ‘first-and-a-half’ draft, because the writing is cleaned up a bit, but big things like pacing or characterization probably still need revisions. This time, I’m struggling with timelines and flashbacks, and I keep changing my mind about where certain scenes should fit into the story. I’ve debated sticking outlines of all the scenes up on the wall so I can see them all at once, and shuffle them around like puzzle pieces, but I haven’t got quite that desperate yet.

Thank goodness I’m not alone in reworking structure – this very timely post on Writer Unboxed on mid-book structural revisions helped me a lot. It uplifted me when I was feeling a bit defeated, and now I’m ready to pour some coffee (of course), put on some music, and face this 40K word/plot slump. Avoiding it has been fun (I’ve read a lot of fantastic books in the last few weeks) but it can’t go on forever.

Anyone else struggling with elements of a project? What tactics do you use to regain focus?

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3 thoughts on “Return of the 40K Word Slump

    • I like this advice. And since you have experience with different timelines in The Clearing, I’m going to assume you’re correct and take this advice!

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