Anyway, there I am writing a book and I'm about halfway through the first draft and suddenly, the magic is gone and I'm no longer as jazzed about writing the damned thing as I once was. Oh, I still think it's the best thing I have ever written. Hell, it may be the best thing anyone on Earth has ever written. But I am, alas, a bit tired of it. I am going to call this phenomenon, where my own brilliant work no longer seems interesting, fiction fatigue*.
What I think is going on is that, now that I've written some 36,000 words and have come to really know who my characters are, a lot of the joy of discovery is behind me, and I know that a lot of the work left to do is working-out-of-plot and pure craft sort of stuff. Yes, there are things to decide and amazing metaphors to pull out of the air and beautiful writing to do by the ream, but still, I'm no longer in that happy getting-to-know-you phase with the story or the characters.
This book is written in 3rd-person, and what I'm doing is using a sort of omniscient POV as a neutral narrative voice while often reducing the narrative distance and writing in 3rd-person limited through one of the main characters. For a while this was really a thrill, getting close like this to my characters and zooming in and out, as it were, into the heads of several people. But now the technique has sort of become just background, mere mechanics for me. It's no longer hey, this is way cool and is now simply how I'm choosing to write the book.
The chapters are taking longer to write, too. Part of that is because the early chapters were all pretty short, about 2000 words or so, and the middle chapters are twice that long. Part of that is also because I find myself having to do a lot more research for the middle than I thought I'd be doing, because I figured once I had all my historical background info for the first act, I was done with research. Wrong. But also, it's just taking me longer to write now because I keep looking for something new about the characters or their world because, in a way, I am exhausted. It's like with someone who's been riding on a roller coaster all day: by the evening, it's just no longer the adrenalin-producing event it was at dawn.
I know that if I keep pushing forward, I will finish this draft. I'm not worried about that because this is not my first novel (it will be my third) and I know that I've got the stamina to write a book-length fiction. But I do see that I am suffering from fiction fatigue right now, and I find myself thinking that I should take a break from the story. I don't like those thoughts, because I certainly didn't do that with my last book; I plowed through and wrote my first draft in about seven months. But I don't know.
So I ask you two things: are you familiar with what I'm calling fiction fatigue? If so, what have you done about it?
* Disclaimer: I ran across that term, "fiction fatigue," someplace lately and while I can't remember where I saw it or what the original meaning of it was when I stumbled over it, I am co-opting the term today. Them's the breaks.
Also: The Literary Lab has a new look and a new graphic for the new year! Thanks, Glam!