Archives for category: Fear and Trembling

Hey there. I’ve been quiet over the last couple weeks, not because I haven’t been writing (I have! I have! My fingers are numb from the typing!), but because everything has been changing.

I’ve always felt that once I got to a certain point in my first draft – somewhere past the halfway mark – I’d get a sense for whether it was working. Whether the story was hanging together, whether it would keep a reader engaged, whether it could stand on its own.

I reached that point over the last month or so, and the gut checks I kept getting were something like this: You’re playing it safe. You’re coloring inside the lines. You could make this bigger, darker, better.

No one wants to hear that, even when it’s your own self talking, so I started asking a few people I’ve shown some of the first bits to. They agreed. Here’s what humble pie tastes like: teeth-scrapingly tart.

It’s clear that the story needs some significant re-working. It doesn’t have enough spark yet. It needs love. Attention. Obsession.

I’m digging it all up, exposing the guts again, doing major surgery. Look at these blood-spattered walls!

I’m frustrated + excited + cranky. I keep thinking about the deadline, and how very much I want to finish this book before I turn 40, and what if I don’t make it, and WAAAAHHH.

But you know: my book doesn’t care. It just shrugs.

So much for my progress reports. My word counts mean absolutely nothing. Aaannddd I’m back to wandering in the wilderness. Or, you know: writing.

It does amuse me to note that my characters are beginning to fulfill the title of the book more and more each day, AND SO AM I.

I’m a sucker for articles that offer writing advice. Usually I can find a nugget that helps me figure out something I’ve been puzzling over.

When I came across 22 story basics I learned at Pixar from Emma Coats, it was like being handed a present. I keep going back to it; among my favorites are #11, #16 and #8. In fact, I just might get #8 tattooed on my forearm.

But one of the rules made me feel anxious:

I haven’t written my ending yet. I have some idea of how it will play out, but it hasn’t entirely come together yet. I worry. I do. Sadly, my fretting hasn’t been very useful. I’ll get to The End eventually.

I didn’t plan to start blogging again. Then I started this project – which is technically more about finishing than about starting, but whatever – and realized I had so much stuff rolling around in my head about ALL THE THINGS that I needed a place to record it all.

I’m just going to jump right in.

Not sure what this is about? Go here.

And we’re off. Eep.