Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Still Writing ...

4550901923_c4d1350ace_z (via)

I've been working on the same novel since roughly sometime in mid-2009. It has been edited to death, and gone through many, many, many iterations. As it stands, I am currently at 61,890 words, and 219 pages (double spaced, Times New Roman, 12 point font, one inch margins). I feel like for it to be a "real" book I need over 300 pages.

The problem is that I don't know what I'm doing with it anymore. I've included story lines and then removed them, replaced by something that I thought made the book better. I've added sub-plots that I thought could be interesting, only to abandon them when I run out of steam in that particular area. I had an ending in mind that I thought would be amazing, but I reached that penultimate moment around page 180. I need something else to finish the story. I need tension. I need drama. I need to find my way.

Another problem is that while I originally loved the characters and thought they were so compelling, they just feel stale to me. I've written and re-written their dialogue so many times that I feel like there's nothing left to explore with them. Deep down I know there is - after all, I set up several different paths the story could take if I could just commit to one. But I'm just not feeling inspired by any of it right now.

Sadly, I promised myself - and Alan - I would use my recovery time off work to finish this book once and for all. It's been years in the making and I just want to put it to bed. At the same time, I know that's a really bad attitude to have because it doesn't produce good work. Finishing for finishing's sake really isn't something I like to do, ever. I want to write something that is good, and that if I really pursued it could be published.

I guess I'm just not really feeling the muse right now.


  1. Having talked with you about this in the past already, I know our creative processes differ quite a bit. But I think sometimes instead of waiting for the "muse" to strike, I've had success basically trying to brute force content by just ... powering through not being inspired.

    The thing for me is that I often don't start being inspired about stuff - and that goes for game design as well as writing. It often takes slogging through some very tiresome and very bad work before you start to see stuff come together. Sometimes, it's just being ashamed of *how* bad the things you're making are that forces you to think about what you're doing in different ways, and *that* ends up being the thing that sparks & gives you that momentum.

    Trying some semantic judo, you've said that you felt like this was "edited to death". One of my good friends is a brilliant artist, but I always feel like his best work is the roughest, first drafts of the things he does. By trying to refine it, he loses some of the energy & spark that brought the idea to life, and I'd *rather* see the rough sketches than the final drafts.

    The other option, if you're up for it, is to just show someone else your work and see how they react. I'm always down to read something & provide feedback. Even if you're not looking for *critical* feedback at the moment, you can ask specifically for feedback like, "What works for you?" or "Where would you go with X?" and sometimes those discussions can spark some train of thought, or something that you'd thought of a while ago but forgotten, and that can pull you in some new & exciting direction.

    Writing doesn't have to be a solitary endeavor, and the result isn't any less "yours" for the process of collaboration, particularly at a high level.

    Anyway - advice, advice, advice is probably not what you're looking for anyway. Just wanted to see if your muse could use a kick in the pants. :)

  2. Thanks for the tough love. :-)

    For work-related writing, I've had to force myself to slog through some pretty bad stuff just to find a nugget of something good. I feel like because that has been my process with corporate content I want to keep that as far away as possible from my creative writing. Strangely in college I could just sit down and hammer out 10,000 words. I think maybe writing corporate content has killed that in me. Instead I've spent years bettering other people's content and maybe that's why I'm so hell bent on editing something to within an inch of its life?

    On the flip side, I re-edited the first 10 chapters of the book the past couple of weeks and it was a great exercise because I found a lot of redundancy and a lot of superfluous language that bogged down the character. Earlier I felt as if I was trying to drive home a point about the mental state of the female protagonist, but doing this round of edits I knew it was way too much. Maybe that's why I'd decided I didn't care about the character anymore? Maybe I had unknowingly created an unsympathetic person, and no one wants that.

    While I thank you for the offer to read what I have, I'm pretty sure it's not really your cup of tea. It's pretty much paranormal contemporary romance, and so far there's a heavy focus on female sexuality.

  3. One thing I've noticed in editing the book is that I am a huge fan of commas and parentheticals. I really need to focus on a more simple sentence structure.


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