Thursday, October 22, 2009
This Roller Coaster's Going To Kill Me
photo by Jo Jakeman
Yesterday I made a comment in Davin's post about a wake-up call I got the night before. And like I said in the comment, this wake-up call is something I'll remember for a lifetime.
It was bad. My breath stopped. Tears came. I was horrified. I thought about deleting my blog, all my manuscripts, all my writing, and just crawl in a corner and hide for a solid week.
So I'm obviously overly dramatic. I drive my husband crazy most days. Still, this was a big deal for me. I had opened the document for a novel I haven't touched in a year. Somewhere along the line I'd built up this book as something magical, wonderful, a masterpiece that didn't need much work. I've let a lot of people read it. I always talk about it like it's going to be my debut novel. You know, it's something special.
Wow, was I wrong. I knew it needed cleaned up, but the further I got in the worse it got. It was so bad. Like purple-prose-clunky-flashback-gimmick bad. And all I could do was stare at the screen and remember how many people had read the book a year ago - and how good I thought it was. This book. My baby. All wrong. Talk about embarrassing.
Needless to say, I've had several friends talk me off the ledge. Thanks, you guys. I think we all go through this as writers. My experience is nothing unique, but this particular one opened my eyes.
Writing is such a roller coaster. We're blisfully happy with our work one second, and we're shredding ourselves to pieces over it the next. I think we reach a threshold, though- a place where we can see our work clearly, a place where we can make sure the writing doesn't interfere with the story. I think that's the point we can stop the roller coaster and look out across the possibility of a magnificent landscape (or maybe it's magnificent already). I must be getting to that point if I've been able to see all these problems in the manuscript.
As circumstances have it, though, I'll be putting this book aside once again. Although I've already cut it down from 92k to 68k, I don't think it's ready for more intensive surgery quite yet. Who knows, six months from now I'll probably see even more things wrong with it. How on earth are we ever happy with what we write? How do you deal with that?
~MDA (aka Glam)