Good morning, all :)
Many thanks to those who responded about their favorite artists. I will be doing a post on my favorites soon (promise!) but for now, I wanted to put words to web for what's happening.
There are many ways to write a book. Some are better than others, and one good thing is that after writing more than one, you can tell what works and what doesn't. Sometimes I try to take certain things from one and other things from another. Sometimes in the beginning, a certain process works great, but toward the end it becomes like pasta (ever-growing, no way out of).
Case in point. Current manuscript in progress. Don't ask me why, but I decided to "quilt" this manuscript together. Normally I stick to a linear approach, and write the book from beginning to end. Sometimes I detour, sometimes I get stuck, sometimes I plot, sometimes I don't. But it's usually linear. Not this time. Linear wasn't working, but all these 'random' scenes in my head seemed to flow.
Why argue w/the muse? I began writing down various scenes, had a vague idea what the storyline would be, and knew my characters well. This worked...for 185 pages. Then a horrible thing happened. It no longer worked! I had no more 'new' scenes to put in, and I needed the linear approach to make it all make sense to me. In the midst of this, I also changed the title and that cast a new spin on things.
Moral of the story--each book is unique, and each approach has to use the best things that have worked before while trying to avoid what didn't work. I am to the point of believing that odd numbered books work and even numbered ones don't. Yes, this sounds ridiculous, but it's been true for me. Book 1 didn't exactly "flow" but there were moments of sheer inspiration that surprised even me. Book 3 practically wrote itself...seriously. It's the easiest book I've ever done, and also one of my favorites.
So my advice is...figure out what works. Don't start writing until you're ready. Make a few notes for scenes/turning points and put them on a bulletin board. Try to have a plan if you get stuck.
So, right now, I pick myself up out of the quicksand I feel I am in, and will go back to being linear. I'll patch these scenes together, bridge some where necessary, and heave ho my way onward.