ugh

Nov. 28th, 2011 10:30 pm
jazzfish: Stormtrooper making an L on his forehead (Soy un perridor)
I don't know what my bloody problem is but this addition / rewrite is slogging through molasses. Or #3 maple syrup, if you prefer. (I do.)

Some of it's timing in the middle of a busy month, some of it's having trouble getting into any kind of flow. More of it's looking at what I've written, both in the previous version and in the changes I've made here, and thinking, "this doesn't do anything at all like what i want it to." I'm not picking up the pace, not enough; I'm not making things get any worse any sooner; my new character isn't doing a damned thing. None of it makes any sort of sense to me. I'm trying to change the existing shape of a story and it is just. not. happening. Nevermind that I can see perfectly well why the shape as it is now doesn't work, nevermind that I know what needs to change to make it work, the changes are resisting my every effort. And then two days or a week later I look and say "of course it's resisting, because that's the wrong thing to put there, it isn't doing what i need it to at all." Bleh.

I keep reminding myself that there are people, at least two of them, who had good things to say about it as it was. It doesn't really help.

"You write quickly, right?" TNH asked me. And yeah, I do, when the words are coming, when I know the shape of the story. Then I can write reasonably fast. This right here is just horrible, slow, depressing. Getting nowhere.

I will of course be missing my self-imposed deadline of "submit by end of november." Maybe if I buckle down I can get it out the door, or at least drafted, by the end of the year. And hope the editor in question doesn't respond with a "pfft, took him that long to make a few simple changes?"

Some amount of this is directly related to a lack of writing community in my life. Oh well. I don't really see that changing in the near future so I had better learn to live with it.
jazzfish: artist painting a bird, looking at an egg for reference (Clairvoyance)
Words: 500ish
Total words: around 2600
Neat things: Coldsleep regulating gel hardens and shatters when you muck with it. Also, Eddison looks to be as unpleasant as Carter, in different ways.

This will be slow going for awhile. Adding a character doesn't double the complexity, it more than quadruples it. On top of the additional plot mucking to do I've got more relationships to track, more responses to actions to account for. Gah. More thinking and planning needed. I was hoping I could just bull through but that's looking less likely.
jazzfish: A cartoon guy with his hands in the air saying "Woot." (Woot.)
written last night, but not posted 'til today by staff request )

So, um, yeah. That happened.

(And now I'm having vague notions of stopping off in Boston for a day or two before or after October 9-15, because, hey, people.)
jazzfish: artist painting a bird, looking at an egg for reference (Clairvoyance)
I can't just file off the rough edges and send it in with the current structure. I can't. I've been trying for weeks and all I can see is how it's wrong, wrong, wrong.

So instead I'm trying to rewrite the damned thing. Which is emphatically not how I wanted to spend my writing time for the next couple of weeks.

I have a pretty good idea of how to restructure it, anyway. It's only got three bits that will be difficult to pare down to a single viewpoint. One can probably be dispensed with altogether, and I've figured out how to make a second work. It's the third, the visceral "oh my god" moment, that's going to be difficult.

Oh well. If it was easy everyone would be doing it.

Goal: in the mail to Viable Paradise by 3/18.

Reward: ... I get to go down to Richmond and explain to [personal profile] uilos's parents that we're moving across three thousand miles and an international border? Yeah. I'll come up with something.
jazzfish: artist painting a bird, looking at an egg for reference (Clairvoyance)
I just realised it's been awhile since I've noted anything here.

Revision )



Actually not writing )
jazzfish: artist painting a bird, looking at an egg for reference (Clairvoyance)
Words: 1003
Total words: 5217
Neat things: "You have been most creative. And entertaining."

And that's a draft. Not a good draft, not a draft that I think does much at all that I want it to, but a draft. It has inconsistent characters, a plot with at least one moderately-sized hole, not enough description (especially not of the GSS Audacity), an insufficient amount of exposition for it to make sense to people who don't live in my head, a great deal of talkiness and not much action, and an ending that probably doesn't come across properly at all.

But it is a draft. And tomorrow (well, later today, at this point) I'll poke gently at it and try to clean it up, and then submit it to CVS for a critique next week.
jazzfish: artist painting a bird, looking at an egg for reference (Clairvoyance)
Words: 1049
Total words: 4214
Neat things: Ling still doesn't know whether her ship is in imminent danger of being vaporised. (Spoiler: it's not! It has other problems.)

... holy crap did I really write a thousand words today? It doesn't feel like a thousand. It feels like around five hundred, of which maybe a hundred are actually doing the job they're supposed to do. Oh well. That's what revision is for.

One more scene of Ling freaking the hell out, and then the Big Ugly Finale, which will take some sorting out of its own, and I can call it a draft. I may actually have this done by Thursday.

Oh, and a title. I ought to come up with one of those, and sooner rather than later. Perhaps it's hiding in the last scene.
jazzfish: artist painting a bird, looking at an egg for reference (Clairvoyance)
Words: 870
Total words: 3203
Tyop du jour: transmited
Neat things: Fimbulcorp's plan revealed. Carter gets snappish.

Today started with beating my head against the "don't wanna write this" wall again. Which made no sense, because this was the part with the AI and was going to be fun. Eventually I realised that it might be fun but it didn't belong in this story, in spite of having been one of the things that got me started /writing/ this story. It overcomplicated the exposition and didn't provide anything that the existing characters couldn't get on their own. So I tore out about two hundred words of subplot device.

Then I undid the bigger of the two changes I made yesterday, because now I need that faster pace and heightened tension. "This is going to be bad-- oh crap, it's worse!" is better for this story than "What is this? --Oh crap, it's bad!" and, having removed the AI entirely, I no longer need to make room for unrelated things to happen.

After that I just wrote, and it felt pretty good despite involving tearing out half the work I'd done yesterday.

Part of one more expositionaryish scene to go, and then a transitional panicking scene, and then, I think, the big confrontation. And the ending, and then maybe a coda. Looks like it'll come in under 5000 words. Doable.
jazzfish: artist painting a bird, looking at an egg for reference (Clairvoyance)
Words: call it 500
Total words: 2566
Neat things: A ship of silver and starlight. An AI that's just smart enough to come to terms with being an AI instead of a person.

I spent the last two weeks beating my head against this, in the same way that I was beating my head against "Junkyard Dog" towards the end of last year. I sort of knew what I had to write next, but I didn't know what it was setting up for, and suddenly that mattered.

Last weekend I sat down and worked out a backstory and a motivation for the aliens. That helped some; I felt like I was about ready to start writing again. (Then life intervened.) Today I still wasn't ready to start writing new stuff, and on top of that the plot I'd worked out made no sense. I went back through and rewrote some of what I'd already written to change a few key details about the world. That didn't help.

Then I said "screw it, i know pretty well what i want the last scene to be, i'll write that because at least that's writing something." And about thirty words into the scene I had an epiphany, and then I had a plot.

And now I have a pretty good idea of what the rest of the scenes for this are going to be (there's some uncertainty around the climax, which is all for the better), and I've mostly written the scene I was stuck on and part of the next.

This is another one of those damned things I'm not good enough yet to write. Characters who are flawed and sympathetic and real enough that the audience cares about their fate are pretty much vital to this story working, and I don't know that I can pull that off yet.

Oh well. The only way to learn how to do that is to try.
jazzfish: artist painting a bird, looking at an egg for reference (Clairvoyance)
Words: Around a thousand, over the weekend.
Total words: Around two thousand.
Neat things: A jerk, a druggie, and an insecure hardass wake up on a spaceship...

I'm at the point in writing this where I have no questions about my talent. My ability may not yet be up to what I want to do, but it's just that: not yet. It's all learnable.

Of course, I'm also now at the point where I've written just about everything that I knew I needed to write, and now I have to figure out what goes between the setup and the finale. Oh, and what the finale looks like, too. Probably somewhere in the process of flailing about writing that part I'll hit writer's gloom.

At least I have a shape for this in my head, and (unlike Junkyard Dog) it's reasonably well fixed in place, just by the nature of the story.

Also, this really needs a title, or at least a shorter way to refer to it.

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Adventures in Mamboland

"Jazz Fish, a saxophone playing wanderer, finds himself in Mamboland at a critical phase in his life." --Howie Green, on his book Jazz Fish Zen

Yeah. That sounds about right.

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