What You Think You are Writing vs. What You are Actually Writing

I’m having a little bit of an identity crisis at the moment.

I know, I know . . . shocking right? Me, trying to figure out who or what I am?

Well, now I have a new symptom of this confusing identity issue. I no longer have a clue what I am writing.

As you may recall, I am currently in the middle of a course/book writing project. I was determined that I was writing an actual adult novel for a change. It was, for all intents and purposes, a fantasy novel, sort of. Kind of. Maybe. But, then again, as I wrote earlier this summer, I am having trouble labeling the genre of this work. Now, of course, many of you suggested that I just write and worry about genre later. And I agree with that. That was also the advice from my editor/instructor in his most recent letter responding to chapter one. (which he liked, by the way).

But he also wrote:

“If I were writing this story (I understand I’m not), I might change that age bit about young women of 21 to young women of 18, and give some thought to a YA novel. As you know, a hot writing niche right now. I just finished the first story in the Hunger Games trilogy, which confirmed what we both know–this isn’t Nancy Drew any more.”

So much for my writing an adult novel. I mean, I know I don’t have to change it, but when he’s right, he’s right!  So, I am now writing a YA novel, but I still have no idea what I am actually writing. Suddenly a romance element has entered the picture, an element that I DO NOT WANT, but it’s creeping in and making me uncomfortable! I am fighting against it, which makes each word a struggle to write.

I guess the book is writing itself and I am just the conduit. Or I simply have lost control of words, my ideas, and my story.

The biggest problem is that every time I try to write now, the doubts creep in and garbage pours out. I know, I know, I just need to let the characters tell the story and figure it all out later.

I just wish I could get out of my own way, and stop fighting myself and my words.

Do you ever find a conflict between what you think you are writing and what you are actually writing? How do your reconcile the two? How do you break through?

9 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Ms. Nine
    Jul 19, 2012 @ 13:57:09

    Oh, yes. Sometimes the characters take over. My advice – let them. You have to step outside your comfort zone.


  2. Kathryn McCullough
    Jul 19, 2012 @ 14:07:03

    I’ve never written fiction, so I really don’t know abut this stuff. However, maybe it’s not so much not knowing what you’re writing, but the fact that how people define certain genres and there boundaries is shifting. Is that possible. I honestly don’t know enough to be sure.
    Good luck with whatver it’s called.


  3. jesterqueen (@jesterqueen)
    Jul 19, 2012 @ 14:41:25

    I hate it when my characters want to do something garishly stereotypical. And yes, I’m the kind of author who will wrest the reins away from them. But it takes AGES. They fight like teenagers, I swear.


  4. Andra Watkins
    Jul 19, 2012 @ 16:03:31

    Just let the characters do what they want. Don’t hold them back. Then go back and clean it up. They may need to get the whole romance thing out of their systems. And, it may be awesome when it happens or it may be garbage. Let them do what they want and then decide.


  5. Trackback: Eureka! I’m Writing in a New Genre « Woman Wielding Words

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