Friday, 11 April 2014

The Opposition Theory

Eleven days! Eleven. Days. Eleven days since I last posted. This, of course, proves my point about unemployment and the loss of perspective/sense of time/whatever else I was talking about last week. Or it just proves that I’m super lazy, make up excuses all of the time, and am not to be trusted.

I’ll leave it up to you to decide which one it is. Because I promised interactivity on this website, and, by god, I MEAN TO DELIVER.

But that’s not what I came here to talk about. I came here to talk about the other thing that I wrote on last week and why I’ve had such a hard time writing lately. Last week, I focused on the idea that I had made this too much like work and that I wasn’t having any fun with the novel anymore. I’ve been giving this some more thought though, and I think that there are some other factors as well.

I’ve been working on this book for a while now. The actual writing started last March, so it’s been just over a year. In the grand scheme of Unpublished People Writing Novels, that’s not a huge deal. It’s a short span. And if we’re talking about Published People With Agents And Publishers And Contracts, then it’s definitely on the long side. It’s just somewhere in the middle, and—with a little luck—will not go on much longer.

The thing that makes this frustrating is the lack of forward progress. I keep restarting. Going back. Changing things. Writing the same scenes over and over again in slightly different ways. It’s the kind of stuff you usually only do at the end, when you’re editing. It makes me a little crazy; just endlessly revisiting the early scenes in the morgue and Warren Cole’s apartment.

I realized the other day that this is where I stopped dead in the current build. I worked through the new opening with ease back in January, and then lost all interest as soon as my characters arrived at the locked apartment door in Northwest Habitation 4. I just know those scenes so well at this point. I know what needs to go into them and how to get them on the page, but the idea of writing them again just hurts. I hate that feeling.

So I skipped ahead.

I just blew right by it. I’ve got all of the details and pertinent character bits in the outline, so there’s little chance of missing something (though I still felt a little bad about doing it for just this reason). And it worked. I did three new chapters in the past week and three-thousand words, and I still feel like I’m picking up speed. I’ve also been focusing on just getting the material out, having fun with it, and saving the worrying/getting it right for the edit.

Which means, I guess, that both of these concepts have been working for me. Sure, I’m about to butt up against some stuff that I’ve already written again, but we’ll burn that bridge when we get to it. For now, I’ve got more writing to do.

 

-Sean

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