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Writing update

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At my writing day last weekend, I wrote somewhere around 3000 to 3500 words of fiction in four hours. I've usually been hitting around 4000 words in those writing days; the shortfall this time was most likely due to the fact that I was having a hard time staying awake. (I seem to do a pretty consistent 1000 words/hour on this piece when I sit down to write, which sounds like a lot to me until I notice it's only 17 words/minute, about a fifth of my usual typing speed when I'm not writing fiction. Gasp! Writing fiction involves more than just typing!)

I was also, unfortunately, having a hard time with the writing itself. The writing has mostly gone remarkably smoothly ever since I figured out how to do the POV a few months back—I like the characters and much of the dialogue, and I'm pretty pleased with some of the more lyrical bits—but last weekend everything was kind of flat. I'm guessing I'll need to do more rewriting on the stuff I wrote last week than usual.

I did get some key scenes out of the way. I've skipped half a dozen scenes that are going to require more thought and more plotting (Scrivener makes it easy to drop in an empty placeholder scene), but I've now written scenes covering most of the plot. The piece weighs in at 23k words right now; it may end up somewhere around 30-35k. Which is a terrible length to sell. Long for a novella, too short for a novel.

And it occurred to me at some point in the past week that there isn't a lot of depth to this. When it was going to be a 10k-word short story, it was fine for it to be just a fun romp, but if it's gonna be this long, I feel like it needs more thematic substance. Especially if it's going to be a novel.

It also occurred to me that there are no villains. No, that's not true: there are three villains, it's just that they're all too cardboard-villainous and they barely appear onscreen until the climax. And pretty much everyone else in the story is either genuinely nice or has a heart of gold, even though they all have their own agendas and some of them are working at cross-purposes. So I need to give various things a darker edge. The stakes are high, but they don't feel high, and too much of the piece doesn't feel serious enough, or difficult enough, or scary enough for the characters.

Am also resisting dealing with some (minor) race issues, and feeling like there are structural problems (hard to bring three or four storylines to a simultaneous climax, want to avoid the "Are you my ending?" problem), and certainly not wanting to show the piece to anyone I know (even after I finish a solid draft, which is still probably months off), because they'll only tell me all the things that are wrong with it and say "Nice first attempt, now go write something good."

In other words, I'm experiencing Standard Writerly Insecurities numbers 27, 89, 3a, 591, and 111. Par for the course.

Solution: Tell brain to shut up; keep writing.

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Yay, you. So good to see you're writing. Would be funny if this turned into a novel. :-)


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