Thursday, July 15, 2010

The excruciating life of a fiction writer Part Seventeen

But I digress. I write because I love it. So why can't I finish this novel in a way that's satisfactory? Why couldn't I just write a mystery? Or a thriller? Why couldn't I think of a plot that was simple? Why do I set myself such impossible goals? It's a question I have and to answer it would take someone a lot more astute than I am. It appears I've written some great material. Amelia is interesting and fun. Sam and Lucy, my younger characters are really great and fun. But the ending doesn't quite work and needs more development . . . okay, fair enough, in fact, easy enough. It's the next part that gets me. What are these two stories doing in this novel together, it's not enough that they are thematically linked, they have to be physically linked too.

I always err on the side of being too subtle. I assume my reader will get what's going on without me telling them. Or perhaps without me leading them there. I'm the idiot it appears. Where do I get that idea from? I can't tell you. I've picked a very challenging plot, a very challenging concept, a unique one I believe. And I want to do it justice. But it's discouraging, why can't a writer see their own work, and why, with all the feedback I've gotten, do I end up in the same place. . . or close to it. I know it's almost there. But almost can mean many things.

So here's to you, who write for pleasure and pain and profit. I give you credit. It's a bitch. I know my parents told me it wasn't going to be easy. They wanted me to do anything else and I couldn't. But there's this part of me that knows I'm smarter than this. And I make it hard on myself. I can never take the easy way out. I want to write a better book, not just a commercial book. I want something more . . . and that's really really hard to do.

Okay, my rant's over for now. I've expressed myself and whined enough. On I go, into the abyss. Or rather back in time to 1980. At least Amelia's having fun getting her second chance. . .


  1. Kinda hard to comment on this post without having read the manuscript. But even without having read it, I can tell that you're working with a very challenging concept. Keep going. It's going to be a book that matters.

    You say you end up in the same place, or close to it, despite all the feedback. Do you mean that you keep writing similar endings, none of which quite work?

  2. I guess I've calmed down a little. I think I actually have made progress with the last draft and it's close, each time I add something. It's just that I feel like a slow learner, then again you're right, I picked a very challenging concept. It was so much easier writing with a basic structure already there . . .thank you for the support. I think I have much of it done, but I have to link the stories from the beginning and the ending is rushed. My friend Jan pointed out that small things matter a great deal when you're as far along as I am. Big picture instead of small for once. Trying.

  3. You're a brave soul venturing into this creative process- you obviously have passion for writing and that is a fire that must find its way into the pages and light them up. It also must be a huge technical challenge to craft a plot structure and story line that work...I want to cheer you on through the labor pangs of book-birthing!

  4. Dear Colleen,
    Thank you so much. If only someone else could do that part for me, I appear to have a huge blind spot with my own work. I always have but managed to get past it when I wrote the first book I published. I hope I can this time, or that I'm close to getting there. I'm going to give it the weekend and work on something short and funny and go back. Your support is invaluable.

  5. Usually the crisis comes when you're about to make a breakthrough - just relax and the ideas will come to you.

  6. Hey Richie, I hope you're right. I so hope you're right. But you know the drill I'm pretty sure.