Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Insert incoherent noise here

I've been flying along on The Reawakened for six weeks now (and three weeks in March) without outlining, just having fun with the book, getting words down, feeling pretty good. Basically the opposite of the approach I took to Voice of Crow, because I spent most of the first draft of that book feeling scared and cramped and pretty much hating it.

Last night I realized I have about two and a half weeks before I want to have the first draft of The Reawakened finished. So I figured I should probably list the scenes I have and the scenes I have left to write (as much as I can).

I have just reached the 100K-word-mark on The Reawakened, and I'm not even halfway finished the story.

Heh.

It gets better.

I'm not even sure what the second half of the story entails, except three events at the very end and a lot of vague guerrilla war stuff before that. (I am counting on Mao Tse-tung to drag my ass out of the fire on that one.)

I don't worry that the book will be too long, because I know that at least 30% of those words are crap, just filler, some ambling conversations that consist of the characters taking my place to think out loud about the plot. Many of the words are just parenthetical musings about the worldbuilding or plot that I decided to count anyway, because I wanted to always be pushing forward, forward.

I don't regret using this method for this novel. In writing The Reawakened in such a haphazard fashion, I've stumbled upon many surprises and discoveries about the world and characters and plot. If I'd done a scene-by-scene outline ahead of time I never would have had so many serendipities.

But it's a mess. A magnificently ambitious mess that may someday turn into a halfway decent novel, but not yet. Not even close.

I just read a post over at Kate Elliott's blog about writerly insecurities that made me feel better, though. It's nice to know that so many authors I admire have the same fears and inner monologue/dialogue as I do. Right now I love every single one of them, even those I'm not sure who they are because it's LiveJournal and everyone has these cute but cryptic usernames that totally disguise their identities.

So I'm not crazy--and more importantly, I'm NOT ALONE.

If any writers are reading this, how do you deal with these moments of panic/insecurity? If it involves a one-way ticket to Fiji, can I come with you?

A-Z Update: momentarily suspended due to the demise of Natalie T. Steppenwolf's motherboard.

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12 Comments:

I do not have a cute but cryptic LJ username! I have been mizkit online since 1994; it is my internet *identity*, and it is in fact with a fair amount of bitterness that I was convinced to use ce_murphy in places where it might matter professionally. So there!

-Catie

Posted by: Blogger Catie at 9/05/2007 4:38 PM

So you're *really* mizkit but are forced to assume the identity of C.E. Murphy. I get it. ;-p

See, that's why I haven't gotten around to setting up an LJ account. To come up with a username alone is too much pressure.

Posted by: Blogger Jeri at 9/05/2007 5:45 PM

*laughs* Well, you could be crazy and use "jerismithready". Or rhia_writer. Or cryptic_but_cute. Or ... no, sorry, I'm out now. I'll come back with more later. :)

-Catie

Posted by: Blogger Catie at 9/06/2007 7:45 AM

I love cute_but_cryptic!! I'm thinking of using jer_bear--one of my friends used to call me that in high school. It shouldn't be too hard to make up an avatar with a bear on it.

But then the question arises, what kind of bear? Polar bears are cute, but they'd eat you in a second.

Posted by: Blogger Jeri at 9/06/2007 8:46 AM

You could go for the (er, forgive me) polar opposite and use a sun bear! They're adorable *and* don't eat people! :)

-Catie

Posted by: Blogger Catie at 9/07/2007 4:34 AM

Yes! I'll use this image!

Posted by: Blogger Jeri at 9/07/2007 2:21 PM

"If any writers are reading this, how do you deal with these moments of panic/insecurity? If it involves a one-way ticket to Fiji, can I come with you?"

I find it best, in moments of panic and insecurity, to surround yourself with people. My tactic? I go to the bar on Sunday nights with my friends the friends that they bring with them. I find that listening to their conversations allows me to draw from their real lives and use that in my writing. Seeing how people interact and being an observer while still having the mind to 'write' when you get home helps me.

Additionally I have some friends who attend these gatherings who are also trying to write. While, yes, writing is definitely a solitary and often times lonely profession, helping them gives me more confidence in my abilities.

Surroundings that inspire is another great method. For me it's good music, a good cup of coffee or even walking the rows of books at the local bookstore. Where else can you be in the presence of so many great minds at one time?

It's good to see that other people have these thoughts. Makes an aspiring writer feel not so alone! Thank goodness! :)

Posted by: Anonymous Leslie at 9/07/2007 2:48 PM

P.S. Jeri-
I don't know about a trip to Fiji, but if I happen to gather the money to take a safari in East Africa, I'll be sure to invite you along ;)

Posted by: Anonymous Leslie at 9/07/2007 2:50 PM

VERY! CUTE! BEAR!

Here, I have made you an icon:

http://mizkit.com/mood_icons/jer_bear.jpg

It won't let me post an image, so at least here's the URL. :)

-Catie

Posted by: Blogger Catie at 9/09/2007 4:37 PM

Thanks, Catie! But isn't that photo copyrighted? Doesn't that mean I can't use it for an icon?

Posted by: Blogger Jeri at 9/09/2007 9:13 PM

If people bother to do anything to acknowledge copyrighted photos, which they typically don't, it's to put a "photo by name, borrowed from site" in the comments for the icon on LJ.

-Catie

Posted by: Blogger Catie at 9/10/2007 3:59 AM

OK, then, I'll use it, because it is teh cute.

Leslie, you've got a good point about getting out and surrounding oneself with people. Unfortunately I'm trapped at home all day with no car in a rural area. This usually suits my hermit personality really well, but I do get, hmm, not lonely (hard to be lonely with so many voices in one's head), but definitely restless. It does help to get outside, though.

I'm looking forward to doing NaNoWriMo this year so I can get together and write with other people locally. Should be fun (and highly caffeinated)!

Posted by: Blogger Jeri at 9/10/2007 8:22 AM

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