The dreaded half and half


Hi everyone. Guess what I did?  I wrote a half and half.  What’s a half and half?  It’s a story where the first half kicks awesome butt and the second half gets the awesome butt kicked out of it.

I knew this before I sent it out to my beta readers, but sometimes I’m not sure if my doubts are my own insecurities beating me up, or if my story is really bad writing.  This time, it was really bad writing.

And not only one, but two beta readers told me the same thing.  In fact, they both pointed out to me the exact same spot the story fell apart, why it fell apart, and what to do about it.  If I didn’t know better, I’d think they were sitting side by side comparing notes, that’s how almost identical their comments were.

Well, I suppose if I’m going to make mistakes, they should be glaring ones.

 So what was wrong with it?  The plot.  It fell apart.  There were pot holes – no, make that sink holes – everywhere in the second half.  Both of my betas said the first half was excellent and they offered minor suggestions to make it tighter.  In the second half, my main character acted against his nature.  I threw in danger when there shouldn’t have been any…in the form of Yetis.  One beta compared the scene to Disneyland Adventures Kinect game. (and this is supposed to be an adult fantasy romance? Oh, no no no.  Make note:  the Disneyland Yetis have to go).  There were characters that walked on and off scene with no reason why, scenes that just happened because…?  (Heck , I don’t even know and I’m the author).  Face it.  There are times when the excuse “Because I can” doesn’t work.

Why did all this happen?

Because I was trying to make the story into something it wasn’t.  I was forcing it, trying to get the story to conform to a mold.  I was looking at a deadline and I was trying too hard to interject an element in the story that really can’t be rushed.  The result?  An ooey gooey mess that now has to be written all over again.  Once again, I should have listened to my gut and not my head.

After giving the story a two-day rest, I started it back up again and I’m writing the second half the way I should have written it all along.  I’m writing for me, not for what I think someone else wants or expects.  I figure others will either like it or they won’t.  I can’t please everyone, so I shouldn’t try.  All I can do is write from the heart.  Once I do that, the rest will fall into place.

So what about you?  Have any of you written a half and half?  Please share your literary blunders and how you overcame them.

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17 thoughts on “The dreaded half and half

  1. I’ve written more than my fair share of literary blunders. I’m always afraid to let anyone read my stuff, because I’m afraid they’ll say it’s awful, or doesn’t make sense or and this is my worst writing fault, I slip into past tense, sometimes right in the middle of a sentence and don’t even realize it. Hang in there, from reading your blog, you’re a much better author than your giving yourself credit for.

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  2. Jenny, I got too much feedback on my first novel and incorporated so many changes it was a jumbled mess. I spent so much time on the first 50 pages never realizing that the rest needed serious triage.

    What I’ve learned from the past 2 years of working on it is this: Go with your instincts. Write the best book you can write today. Write the book that you want to write. And don’t revise until the revision makes sense to you and feels necessary to the story.

    Please don’t be so hard on yourself. We all write bad drafts. Multiple times over. It takes a while to get to good drafts. But each bad draft brings us a step closer, I promise. 🙂

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  3. I think that’s happened to even the best writers at one time or another. I have several stories that I would consider half & half. Glad it’s finally working for you, not what you think someone else might like. 🙂

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  4. Jenny, lol! That first picture cracked me up! And I must admit that I had never before heard of the “half-and-half”; though I may have a few of them saved somewhere on my hard-drive . . .

    I’m a glass-half-full/bright-side-of-things kind of lady, so in my mind I think it’s awesome that you have half a manuscript that kicks butt! To me, this says “The story has strong promise”, whereas two butt-kicked halves would have meant all that work was essentially “a learning experience”.

    I’ve read your work, Jenny, and I trust that with a little time and intentionality, you will have rectified the missing/unnecessary components of the story. 🙂

    Good luck in edits, friend.

    Cara

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    1. That’s the way I looked at it. The first 1/2 rocked. Now, so does the second half. I just had to be me.

      Thank you for being such a fan of my work. I need a million of you. Do you clone??? 🙂

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  5. I have so many half and halfs! I keep them in a folder so I can steal bits and pieces of them for new stories. Sometimes you have to write something bad before you can write something good. 🙂

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    1. I do the same thing. I even have folders with deleted scenes from my current novel that I am sure I can incorporate into either the 2nd or 3rd book in the saga. I learned along time ago, when it comes to fiction writing, the delete button doesn’t exist (except when tossing the garbage).

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  6. Oh yes! I think with my current manuscript which I had to do an entire re-write for, I totally went off the rails with it. I was trying to write like an adult and it was glaringly obvious that I couldn’t emotionaly write like a twenty-eight year old (the age of my main character) so I had to rewrite the whole thing, change the ending and the ages of my characters. I think for me, I was trying to be too grown up and I should have just stuck to what I know. If I was older it might have worked the way it was. Sometimes it’s the wrong time rather than the wrong writing:-)

    Again another fabulous post Jen, always making me think!

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  7. LOL on your visuals, Jenny.

    Sharing your pain on the half-and-half syndrome. KUDOS on picking up the first half so you could kick butt with the ending.

    It’s also difficult for me to make that “call” when something doesn’t feel or sound right. Is it me being my own worst critic? Or, is something fundamentally wrong here? Thank goodness for good beta readers.

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    1. There is not enough gold in the world to compensate my beta readers for what they do. When my novel is published, I will devote an entire page to them.

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