Thursday, September 29, 2011

A Pit of Suckiness

So I just finished edits and now I'm working on finishing the first draft of another book. Completely different genre. Completely different feel, themes, dialogue, etc. I swear it's like I'm learning how to write all over again. I really can't stand drafting books. I honestly don't know how I've made it as far as I have as a writer. How did I ever get through anything when it's so much torture just to pound out a story? Shouldn't it be enjoyable?

Have you ever been working on a scene and time seems to be dragging on so freaking slow? You think, dang, this is boring. Nothing is happening. Yeah, I'm moving things along and important stuff is taking place, but nothing feels like it's happening because I know there's more exciting things coming up! This is where I kind of die because I am not the type of writer to jump ahead and write certain scenes before others. I have to write in order or I'm seriously screwed up. I've tried to do that several times and it just didn't work. So I'm kind of stuck in this limbo state of pushing my way through scenes. The only thing that's keeping me going is the fact that I felt the exact same way on my novella, Thirds, and when it was finally finished and people read it, they said very good things about it. In fact, that was the book my dad called me up about and told me I was the next J.K. Rowling. *snort* Well, although I don't believe that (and Thirds is nothing like Harry Potter) I was extremely flattered. I don't think I've ever heard my dad say something like that to me before. It was a moment made of awesome.

So...I have hope.

But this writing while I think I'm stuck in a pit of suckiness

And maybe this post sucks because it's all about me, but maybe you can relate to some of this? Who knows. I do know I need to read something good soon. I haven't had the time to read any books lately, and perhaps that's what I need.

At least I'm posting here! Yay! I still exist on the Lit Lab!


  1. I swear it's like I'm learning how to write all over again. I really can't stand drafting books.

    I'm with you 100% on that.

  2. I'll be joining you soon. But I do write scenes ahead of each other. I have to. Then I'm in the pit of suckiness to try and keep them cohesive. lol.

  3. Good luck, Michelle! The hard work will be worth it. :)

  4. Anne: Yeah, it seems to be a given for any writer to fall into this pit. :)

    Davin: Thanks! It has been so far. :)

  5. My NaNoWriMo project from last year fell into this pit shortly after I got past the 50K mark. (I'm sure part of that 50K sucks too, but at least I felt the plot was moving forward.) I tried outlining what I've written of the story so far, and it turned out part of the problem was I was writing the same type of conflict between the same two characters over and over. Hopefully I can pull myself out of this pit soon, but now I'm drafting another story too. I may have to switch back and forth between them when I hit pits of suckiness. ;)

  6. For me, the really boring part is when I've rewritten a scene for the umpteenth time and still find stuff to change and on and on. That's where I am right now in my first serious edit of my newly completed novel. The only thing that keeps me going sometimes is that the book already is a complete novel and, therefore, I think, I think, deserves this kind of attention to make it better. Good luck with your efforts.

  7. What a great compliment your dad gave you! I've been there - and don't have anything published to keep pushing me along! You can do it!!! I can't skip ahead either. I've never even tried. I just know it wouldn't work.

    Good luck! You can do it, and we all look forward to the fruits of your labor!

  8. You're not alone. Writing is HARD! I hate when I hear interviews with authors who claim writing is easy. If that was true, then everyone would be a writer. Sometimes it is painstaking grueling agony! But, in the end, it is all worth it. So, slug on through.

  9. Do I ever know how this is. Yesterday I was writing on the new book. I'm in the middle of a scene, and I know what all the important bits of it are, but I am fighting with all of the transitions from moment-to-moment. I write crap like, "He went into the bedroom. He hung his suit and tie in the closet and put his shirt into the wicker hamper. He got into bed and turned off the lamp and waited for his wife to come from the bathroom." Yawn. Yawn yawn yawn. Sometimes first drafts are like that, you know. You just have to keep moving forward, one crappy word at a time. You can't make it into shiny brilliance until it's on the page, right? So just get in onto the page already.

  10. Scott if that excerpt is about a cannibal there could be a lot of suspense there.

  11. He chews his fingernails, though. Is that a form of cannibalism?

  12. We all have pits of suckiness. Keep going. Soon it will be electricity and fun.

  13. Yes, I guess it must be like that for most writers, at least. Like Anne, I do write scenes out of order -- the exciting ones -- and then get impatient writing the bits leading up to those "gems". :-)

    Of course, the worst is if I start listening to that inner editor telling me this isn't going to be any good anyway. It's hard to keep writing when a part of you is asking, "Why bother?"

    I'm sure that's not YOUR problem though. Just. Keep. Writing.

  14. Michelle, why shouldn't you talk about yourself, we all do! :drumroll:

    I should've drafted my current book. Pantsing it, I've reached a brick wall and I have no idea where to go next. (Argument for outline, 1 Charlie 0)

    Cannibals are the next evolutionary step after vampires, no?

    PS. Spell-check for pantsing suggested pantyliner.

  15. I have not run into anything boring because every scene, every beat reveals something new to me. I spent a lot of time up front creating back-story and character and location designs, and I created an extensive plot plan for the tale, yet I could not imagine everything. As I write, more details surface. Those revelations are exhilarating, cause a rush of excitement that makes writing addictive, and leave me wanting more.

    I have an extensive idea document where I collect inspirations that often lead to future scenes. Those scene ideas are the closest I come to writing out of sequence. The idea document for my current project is almost 80,000 words. (The project is 400,000 words in five books.)

    One reason I like to write in sequence is that the revelations I experience inform future scenes, and often require rewriting previous scenes. For example, I knew from the beginning that the aliens talked to each other constantly, but I did not know why. Then, in a blinding flash of insight, I realized why. In that moment of comprehension and entire layer of culture and civilization was revealed to me. I do not believe that would have happened if I had written scenes out of sequence.

    Excitement for upcoming scenes does cause me some frustration as I write the setups that lead to that exciting moment. I badly want to get there. My alpha readers have also expressed a desire to get there; of course, they have been reading the setups that hint at something yet to come, but they keep having to wait for me to write the next piece.

    I am currently working on the detailed plan (by mind mapping) for the chapters that cover the exciting moment. This sequence contains several of the scene ideas I collected in my idea document. Now I must figure out how to sequence those events logically. I have been itching to do these scenes, such as the "Bo Derik" scene that leads to the "Dragon Salivating" scene. In addition, this is where the protagonist, for the first time, sleeps curled up in his Dragon's arms. That will be an "awe, isn't that cute" moment.

    I can't wait. I'm getting back to work.

  16. See, the draft is what I don't mind at all. It's the cleanup AFTER the draft that I mind LOL.

    Keep at it though, maybe we'll both manage our way through somehow :)

  17. Try to find a way to channel the frustration into a creative output, writing or otherwise (sometimes I use it to fuel a long run).

    Glad you're still around!

  18. With you in the Pit of Suckiness. Plus I'm being dragged down a little further by the Lead Boots Of Emergency Edits.

  19. Sandra: Ooo, I've done similar things like that, and it's so easy to do without some form of planning so you can see a larger picture. Good luck with your next!

    Judith: That's exactly why I really don't like drafting at all. I like a completed manuscript because once I have it, I have it. Such a good feeling!

    April: It's true that my published stuff is pushing me along. Thank you for that reminder! Because that really is a huge deal I push aside way too much when I'm writing. Thank you for encouragement!

    Tina: Oh my gosh, I'm the same way. If writing is easy, I'm pretty convinced you're doing something wrong. It's FUN, but it's hard work - or at least from my perspective, I think it should be. I will keep slugging through, hehe. :)

    Scott: Oh, yes, I feel the same way about writing like crap like what you showed. The thing is, that's not necessarily crap if it's in the right context. It all depends. Maybe he just strangled his wife the night before and he's waiting for her zombie-self to come from the bathroom... =)

    But your point is exactly right. I have to get it down, crappy or not.

    Davin: Cannibals. It's all about the cannibals!

    S.P.: Hehe, electricity sounds fun! I can't wait to get there!

    Linda: I think how we write says a lot about our personalities. I'm one of those kids that if they put me in a room with chocolate and carrots, I'd eat all the carrots first and leave the chocolate for last. I don't know what that means, but it's interesting!

    Inner editors are good and terribly bad.

    I will keep writing!

    Charlie: Pantylining might be an interesting writing term to invent... ;)

    Lester: One reason I like to write in sequence is that the revelations I experience inform future scenes, and often require rewriting previous scenes.

    That's how I am. =)

    Eric: Yeah, I LOVE the cleanup and all that revision stuff. That's where magic happens for my writing.

    Rick: I should pick up painting! That might be a good channel. Right now I just get on the floor and play with my daughter. That works, too. The problem is getting up to write again.

    dadwhowrites: Haha, Lead Boots is exactly it. Emergency edits do not sound fun!

  20. My first book seemed to flow a lot easier than this one did. Now there are chapters where i feel like millions of babies have been born, tectonic plates have moved, and several countries have formed all in the time it took to write a chapter that feels like Back to the Future 2, I know I have to write it and it will be much better when I polish it up later but had to write it to get to the next part. I feel your pain.

  21. "I know there's more exciting things coming up! This is where I kind of die because I am not the type of writer to jump ahead and write certain scenes before others."

    Well Michelle, that statement is exactly what I have to do when I seriously get stuck on a scene. I've had to move forward to the next secquence, just carry on as if I had written all that section, in order for SOMETHING to happen with the novel progress. Eventually, I'll be writing a segment and and realize it is the backstory to the part I skipped over. Its like, a light bulb moment, b/c I didn't expect to work on THAT section else where.

    But everyone has their own schedule of writing. My writer's group leader cannot write out of sequence either, and a lot of writers I know have to follow a sequential continuation also.

    You've overcome larger issues in your writing, and I'm sure this one will work itself out. I'm sure you will use a variety of tools to assist you :)

    On a side note: I clicked on the Variations link, and couldn't find a submission criteria, or any other info on the anthology guidelines. I mentioned it on my 10/3 Shoutouts post, but had to state that the specific info would be announced at a later post. Could y'all let me know through a blog comment - here or my own blog - or an email the details of the next anthology?



  22. Dang; I'm sorry. I did some digging and eventually found the info I was looking for.

    My bad.


  23. J Souza: Hahaha! I love your comment. That's exactly how I feel.

    Donna: No worries!


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