september, Uncategorized, writing

On Fear

I started writing something new a few months ago now. It was based off an idea I’d had kicking around for six months or so and started out as play – I just needed to write something fresh, something in a new world (well, our world still, but not a take on it that I’d written before). I was excited by it, I felt like it was a good something, and I shared it with my crit group and a few friends, and they all liked it too! In fact, they picked up on everything I’d wanted them to, had all the right questions about what was going on, and it thrilled me to the core.

It was hitting all the right marks. It had potential. It was good.

And what I didn’t realize at the time was that all this positive feedback was not only helpful and wonderful, but it caused me to start building a wall of fear around this thing. Because it was new for me, and experimental in some ways – I very rarely write first person, and this was a new genre. And everyone was like ‘heck yeah, we want to read more!’

But what if this was a strong start and everything else sucked? What if I couldn’t maintain it? I had a really good chat with a writer friend yesterday, in which all of this became clear to me. I said to her, “What if I fuck it up?”

She gave me the greatest words of wisdom in response:

The only way you fuck this up is if you don’t try.

Damn. How true is that? I’ve been writing for years now, but even I sometimes forget that first drafts are allowed to suck, and that the real work – the making of something into an excellent thing – is in the rewrites and the edits. So I have put aside my fear and doing another thing that terrifies me – writing an outline/planning. Because while I might not get it all right on the first draft, having a roadmap will go a long way to making sure I hit most of the right spots along the way.


Where I’m at

It’s been a few days since I posted, and while I don’t feel like I have been making much progress on paper, in my head I have been tackling some of the bigger issues.

Like fear.

I’ll openly confess that right now I’m feeling rather afraid of the whole ‘novel writing’ thing. I’ve been working on rewriting/polishing/editing several short stories recently and the amount of time that goes in just to get a few thousand words looking their best? It’s certainly enough to make anyone with limited time back off from the idea of writing and editing a whole novel.

The writing part isn’t so hard, it’s the other work that takes a long time.

I have been writing on a novel, but it’s not my primary focus, and I’m not thinking about it too much. I figured that if I think  of it only a chapter at a time, it’s almost like I’m writing a series of short stories and not a novel at all. Yup, that’s me. All about tricking my own brain.

Ultimately, it’s not the best way to tackle fear. I know that. All the not thinking and avoiding I am doing isn’t going to make for a strong novel. I confess to having no idea where it’s going and you know what? While I want to find out, I’m not such a panster these days.

Even a year ago, you could find me bumbling through a novel, short story or novella. I didn’t need to have an inkling of how it ended, I could just dive in an enjoy. These days I want to know a little more though. These days I am well aware of where pantsing an entire novel leaves me – with the need for a complete rewrite and a lot of work ahead of me.

I simply don’t have time for that anymore.

So, I’m going to do some practice, and work my way up to a new novel.

January 2009 I wrote Mocha Nihilism. A novella of 20,000(ish) words. I’ve started reading through it, and while it needs a fair bit of work, I am really enjoying the characters. I love the MC’s take on life. She cracks me up. Here is the blurb I wrote for it awhile ago:

Christy has always felt like an outcast because she doesn’t drink coffee – she now loathes the stuff, and the people who drink it. But Christy has been given the opportunity to do something about it.

Recruited to be an inside man, girl – woman – for a secret organization it is her job to infiltrate the system of Starbucks and help find a way to bring it down from the inside.

I think it will be a fun Christmas present for some of my friends, and the perfect opportunity to work through a revise/edit/polish of something longer, but not as long as a novel. Funnily enough, it’s not speculative fiction at all – but it IS fun, and I need some of that.

At the moment I’m reading through a couple of times, taking notes and outlining the story I have, and the story I want it to be. I am hoping that this helps me grow a bit in my planning skills so that the next time I write a novel I’ll be better prepared.

Because, I think my next novel will be Delaney. And I don’t want to stuff her up.


Why I should be asleep by 10pm.

It’s been more than a week now since I was awake past about 1015pm. I often go to bed about 930 and pass out with a book in my hand. It’s a great way to go to sleep, though it does mean I end up rereading bits of the same book the next day to recall where it was I drifted off. I’ve been so tired of late, and all I can put it down to is this child of mine inside using up all my resources. Apparently it’s perfectly normal, to be expected, and I should just get used to it.

Last night hubby and I played some Wii Sport before going to bed, so it was well after 10pm before I settled in, much more alert than normal due to all that moving around. So really, it’s no surprise that I was kept awake by the wriggling/kicking/alert child within me. Lol, how had I managed to forget that after 1030 is this babies most active time of the day?

It was actually really nice, though it was well past 11pm when I finally drifted off. Baby responds to voice now, will let me know it’s heard me talking to it and it’s nice to have that connection there. It wakes up again around 5am as well and we have a little bonding moment there between when it wakes me and when I manage to drift back off to sleep.

Anyways… enough with the baby stuff right?

I managed 700 words on the short story last night, and am pleased I managed to get that much out. My brain was melting… and of course hubby was wanting me to play games with him, and sometimes, you have to put husbands first 😉 Admittedly he IS much higher on my priority list than getting this short story done.

I have done several things since my last post to get closer to writing Ayden though. I printed out the first 25K and am 6 pages through reading it (it’s 30pages, in a very small font size). It’s getting me excited about the novel a fair bit, making me look forward to writing it more, and I think I can time it so I finish reading on Sunday night and be ready to start writing on Monday.

Which means finishing off that short story today – that’s today’s goal, and I am pretty sure I can get it done. That way I could let it sit til Sunday and then rewrite/edit it and send it out the door. Bye Bye Grace!

That is, providing I don’t succumb to the urge to play Sonic the Hedgehog 3 and relive my early teenhood.

I can resist, and I will. There are things that need doing, and Monday is Ayden’s day.

Saying that scares me a little. I can admit to that. I’m still nervous about beginning but I am going to forge ahead all the same.