Thursday, September 30, 2010

Why I Hate Revising (a poem)

It started out so perfect,
Inspiration in the night,
I couldn't sleep, I couldn't eat,
Compelled to write and write and write,
And then I reached the climax,
And then I typed "The End"
And then I found the awful truth—
The REAL work had yet to begin…

I realized that my plotline
didn't make a lick of sense,
my characters were too cliché
my adjectives too dense,
The beginning truly terrible,
The ending really cheap,
The middle pretty awful too
(But there was a paragraph—it's true—
on page one hundred thirty-two,
Quite beautiful and deep.)

First I took the pages
And shuffled them around,
Then I tore my heart out,
And trod it on the ground.
Then I ate some chocolate
and stared blankly at the wall,
Pondering the reason
I had started this at all.

Then I watched some Netflix
to forget about my woes,
Then I baked some cookies
and put polish on my toes,
Then I did some laundry
and made a cup of tea,
And sat staring at my MacBook screen
and wrote a word (or two, or three).

I deleted a whole chapter,
I wrote a brand new scene,
I went to wash the dishes
'cause I saw that they weren't clean,
I visited the Blueboards,
in search of inspiration,
then killed the MC's mother
(to give him motivation).

I moved a scene from chapter one
into chapter four,
I really didn't think
I liked this novel anymore.
Frustration quickly settled in
and morphed into despair,
There was no way in the whole world
This horrid thing could be made GOOD
I didn't even care!
I was a hack, I was a fraud,
I'd never find a way—
and then I had a brilliant thought
and plowed on through my problem spot,
and finished for the day.

So maybe after all there's hope
And this isn't just some cruel, cruel joke
And this book will finally be The One—
But this really isn't any fun
And why on earth am I not DONE?

Saturday, September 25, 2010

A long bank of cloud

So I guess I did sorta drop off the face of the planet. Or at least the blog-o-sphere. Or something.

I have been writing. Okay, not so much this last week, but I've definitely made progress since the last post, and I did pen two whole scenes today. I'm currently in the middle of Chapter Thirteen, and am struggling to get the middle bits of my novel to make some sort of coherent sense. The last two chapters I've found myself straying from my revision outline because the novel seemed to demand it, so that's thrown me off a bit. But I think it's for the best. Hopefully. Currently Draft #2 stands at 82,256 words, which is 12k longer than Draft #1. I'm kind of thinking it's not going to get a LOT longer than that, as I'll be deleting as well as adding material in future chapters… But as always, I really have no idea. I just want it to be over already. Did I mention how much I hate revising? 'Cause I do.

… Which is why every once in a while I sneak off to work on On Journeys Bound, which I still really, really want to finish. I'm all the way through Chapter Twelve now, and up to 55,796 words. Long ways to go yet, but I'm definitely flirting with the middle now.

On the reading front, I recently finished Rosemary Sutcliff's Dawn Wind, which is a gorgeous historical fiction set in Britain in the Sixth Century AD. I really love her storytelling and characters and her talent of letting you hear and see and feel the things in her books. Her prose is quiet and lyrical and compelling, as shown by the opening paragraph:
The moon drifted clear of a long bank of cloud, and the cool slippery light hung for a moment on the crest of the high ground, and then spilled down the gentle bush-grown slope to the river. Between the darkness under the banks the water which had been leaden gray woke into moving ripple-patterns, and a crinkled skin of silver light marked where the paved ford carried across the road from Corinium to Aquae Sulis. Somewhere among the matted islands of rushes and water crowfoot, a moorhen cucked and was still. On the high ground in the loop of the river nothing moved at all, save the little wind that ran shivering through the hawthorn bushes.
 Lovely, lovely stuff. The kind of writing I aspire to!

I'm also about halfway through Heroes of the Valley, by Jonathan Stroud (author of The Bartimaeus Trilogy), which I like a lot so far. It's kind of about Vikings, which is awesome.

Let's see, in other news, BBC's Merlin is back for Series Three, the first two episodes of which were Epic and Awesome and Lord of the Rings-esque. I can't wait to see how the storylines and characters are going to develop over the rest of the series! Going to be interesting, for sure.

And that will about do it for now. I think I'll go work on my novel… or read… or goof off on the internet… one of those. :-)