Writing Around in Circles

I’m back at work on the book!


But I’m still having plot issues.


But I had this great idea for the direction of one of the scenes. And it’s actually doing what I want it to do.


Well, sorta. Almost. Maybe. This is the life of the writer. At least the life of this writer. I’m trying to write this scene in which one of the characters is going to reveal something, well, seriously damning. But not, please God, in an info-dump or  monologuing. But the character is a little off the deep end, and not entirely clear on what she’s saying, and my protagonist is reading between the lines, and and and…

I have now written this scene four times. Each time I get closer to what I want it to do, and yet it’s not there yet. Why don’t I just walk away and write another part of the book and come back and fix this? Because I’m close, really really close to getting down what I need to in this scene.

I’ve been here before. About once every book this happens. I have a scene which is pivotal that just doesn’t work. It’s almost viscerally upsetting, and almost all I can do is keep chipping away, going in circles around and around, trusting that I will get closer with each circle until I’m there. Experience tells me this will happen (although it doesn’t tell me when–or how much stomach lining I will have chewed off before it does).

There’s no way to do this right (or wrong). Everyone does it differently. My process may be weirder than most, but it’s mine, and twelve books in, I have to believe that it works. And I’m writing again.



About Madeleine E. Robins

Madeleine Robins is the author of The Stone War, Point of Honour, Petty Treason, and The Sleeping Partner (the third Sarah Tolerance mystery, available from Plus One Press). Her Regency romances, Althea, My Dear Jenny, The Heiress Companion, Lady John, and The Spanish Marriage are now available from Book View Café. Sold for Endless Rue , an historical novel set in medieval Italy, was published in May 2013 by Forge Books


Writing Around in Circles — 5 Comments

  1. Woohoo! If that’s what you need to do, then that’s what you need to do. I hope that scene will snap into place, and light up the rest of the story for you.

  2. The thing I find fascinating is that all it takes is the lightbulb going on and I’m good again. But I cannot, through any mechanism I have yet found, make the lightbulb go on until it’s good and ready.

    Which brings this to mind:

    “How many copywriters does it take to change a lightbulb?”

    “A vast and teeming horde, stretching from sea to sea!”