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The Wall

I am writing a book, yes? Stupid beloved stupid book. I am currently convinced of the following things:

- That this story is not going to pull together into a coherent ending. That, despite the fact that things have been connecting nicely, I’m going to drop one of the main threads and/or mess everything up, and end up with a conclusion that is in no way worth reading a whole book to reach.

- That there is not enough tension or conflict, and that my attempts to increase tension and conflict only manage to increase the silliness of the plot, and will likely ruin readers’ suspension of disbelief.

- That no one will want to read about these characters for so very many words.

- That the tone and narrative voice is intrusive and annoying. Alternately, that the prose is dull, and no amount of polishing will make it shine.

- That my economic magical system is fatally flawed and/or silly.

- That I am in the process of creating a trite, post-apocalyptic, novel-length version of Le Guin’s “The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas,” merely leaving out the bit where people walk away (except readers, who shall abandon the book in disgusted droves).

In short, I have spent a month trying to deal with the fact that my book is terrible, horrible, no good and very bad, and that the more I write the more I mire myself in the stinking quagmire of suck. And then I remind myself that no, it is more likely that I have reached that wonderful middle of the book milestone where everything seems awful.

Yes, it’s the Wall. Stupid Wall. I kick it.

And what it means is that I’m now going to have to dig deep and rely on one of my strengths, a blessed family trait: blind, pig-headed stubbornness. Forget all that stuff about “permission to be bad,” etc; my perfectionist sub-conscious immediately rejects that as ridiculous bullshit, and the conscious brain nods sagely in approval. I’m going to be awesome if it’s the last thing I do, and if awesome is seventeen drafts and hundreds of thousands of words from here, then dammit, that’s where I’m going, one awful chapter at a time.

Time to put my head down, and trudge into the trenches with the muck and the suck and all those words waiting to be written. Time to get to work.

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Comments

( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
sarahbrand
Nov. 6th, 2008 08:37 pm (UTC)
For what it's worth, the phrase "economic magical system" by itself makes me want to read this thing. Good luck!
elanid
Nov. 6th, 2008 09:32 pm (UTC)
That was exactly what I thought when I read that phrase!
ksumnersmith
Nov. 7th, 2008 02:37 am (UTC)
Well, then, I'll just have to work really, really hard to make sure that the economic aspects make sense by the final draft.

Thanks. :)
wood_dragon
Nov. 6th, 2008 10:14 pm (UTC)
Go you! And you know my feelings on the subject. Want! Now! So get busy writing.
ksumnersmith
Nov. 7th, 2008 02:36 am (UTC)
Yes, ma'am! (Same goes for you. *g*)
talyesin
Nov. 6th, 2008 11:51 pm (UTC)
Everything about this post makes perfect sense... to any other writer reading it. We are with you in spirit if not in actual sitting-next-to-you-pointing-out-spelling-mistakes fact.

I will buy a copy of this no matter when it comes out or on what matter it is printed. So there.
leahbobet
Nov. 7th, 2008 01:17 am (UTC)
See, I always figured the permission to be bad thing only applies to the first draft.

After that it's the seventeen drafts and the killing.
ksumnersmith
Nov. 7th, 2008 02:35 am (UTC)
Yeah, I know ... intellectually. But the closest I can actually giving myself permission to be bad is to acknowledge that in my attempt to write the cleanest, best, most awesome draft I am physically capable of, I'm going to mess up. Chances are I'll mess up a lot.

To perfectionist brain, mistakes happen and can often be fixed. But being allowed to suck? Never!

(And thus we see how I easily tie myself into little stressful knots. *g*)
leahbobet
Nov. 7th, 2008 10:20 pm (UTC)
Foolish perfectionist brain! Rar!
henchminion
Nov. 7th, 2008 02:01 am (UTC)
A novel resembling "The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas" with an economic magical system? That sounds quite cool, actually. I want to read it too.
mattbin
Nov. 7th, 2008 03:43 am (UTC)
a conclusion that is in no way worth reading a whole book to reach.

Nope. It'll be fine. Your readers will love it.

my attempts to increase tension and conflict only manage to increase the silliness of the plot, and will likely ruin readers’ suspension of disbelief

Nah. You've taken too much care not to ruin it. They'll be there with you.

That no one will want to read about these characters for so very many words.

No one's counting words. If they are, they're probably wanting more.

That the tone and narrative voice is intrusive and annoying.

You're sick of the voice, fine. Not a problem. Your readers don't even notice it because they're too wrapped up in the awesomeness of the story.

That my economic magical system is fatally flawed and/or silly.

No and/or no. You've figured it all out well in advance. It works. Go with it.

That I am in the process of creating a trite, post-apocalyptic, novel-length version of Le Guin’s [etc.]

When in doubt, consider Eliot: "Good artists imitate. Great artists steal." What this means, when you give some time to Eliot, is that there's no such thing as a derivative literature, if it's written with heart. You're writing with heart. Stop worrying.

In short, I have spent a month trying to deal with the fact that my book is terrible, horrible, no good and very bad, and that the more I write the more I mire myself in the stinking quagmire of suck.

Those feelings suck. And they are natural. And they don't matter.

Dude, you're writing that book, there. Get the damn thing done so we can bask in your shadow, already.
brashley46
Nov. 7th, 2008 04:58 am (UTC)
You go, grrl. I was convinced that my first piece of polemic was unmitigated shite too. The difference?


I was right. ::grin::

Edited at 2008-11-07 04:59 am (UTC)
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )