True Confessions of a Writer 'In Process'

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

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My friend GingerGirl has done something awesome, though admittedly a little intimidating.  She's given herself a deadline to finish her novel, has been working on it daily for about . . . a month now? (is that right?)  . . . and has inadvertently guilted me into getting back to my own novel.

I can do this.  I can.  I can finish this thing.  Why not?

Why not, indeed.  I've been working on this novel for a few years now and I am ashamed to say I'm nowhere near the end.  I say the problem is not enough time, because of my job and my family and my responsibilities (you know, the endless list of excuses).  That, however, isn't the whole truth.  It's not even half the truth.  The real reason I haven't finished this story is that I am afraid.  I suppose that's true for most writers (at least, that's what they say in interviews), so I'm in good company.  But, what am I afraid of?  Yep, the usual.  That I'm just not good enough.

It's not writer's block; I see the story, I know my characters.  In fact, I love my characters.  They're like dear friends of mine (though it's sometimes a sad fondness, since I know a few of these darlings will have to die).  I can experience the world in my head--the scenarios, the highs and lows, the pain and joy.  I feel this story, and sometimes it explodes in technicolor brilliance behind my eyes.  But . . . can I tell it?

I have pages and pages of what seems to me like wordy, meandering drivel, with the occasional "good" sentence or scene.  And I don't mean "good" as in "well written."  I know how to revise and rewrite until a thing is honed for maximum effect, and I'm comfortable with the fact that this is a first draft and things are a bit slipshod at this stage.  No.  By "good," what I really mean is true.

If you're a writer, you know what I mean.  Well, I assume you do . . . we probably haven't met properly, so I can't say for sure.  I think it's safe to say, however, that most writers know and love their stories, as I do, and just want to be true to them, in the telling.  These funny, thoughtful, explosive, terrifying, poignant stories that live within us just needing a little nurturing by a competent mother so they can be birthed into existence and learn to walk around on their own.

So, no pressure, right?  Right.

I'm going to get back to my novel, now.  I've got a villain who's trying to take over my whole head, and I'd better get him in check before he wins.  As I said last post--a year of doing.

"Go then, there are other worlds than these."
- Stephen King, The Gunslinger

Aye.  Thankee, sai.  Wish me courage.


Jarmara Falconer said...

Hi Firepark, welcome to my blog. I've been working on my first novel since 2009, so I know how hard it is to complete a book, but I left for until this year to take another look at it. I hope to have three novels completely finished this year.

Good luck with your novel

I've a short story printed in an Anthology which you can buy throw Amazon @

My real name is Paula Readman and my story's 'St Hilda's Embrace.' In August this year I've a crime story being published by Bridgehouse publishing in an Anthology.

firespark said...

Oh good... at least I know I'm not alone!

I'll check out your short story on Amazon as soon as I can... seems the thing is selling for pounds, so I hope it'll convert the cost for me in dollars! :)

Thanks for stopping by Jarmara (Ms. Readman). And thanks for the luck - I'll take all I can get!

GingerGirl said...

Aw, I made it into your blog! :) You are fabulous! (Have I mentioned that lately?)

I double checked my story notes and the dated entries started on October 17, so I probably started in October with the trying to write an hour per day thing.

I am glad that you have started writing again. It is awesome to see you excited again, brimming with new ideas and scenes and snippets! Your motivation helps fuel my motivation, and the cycle continues!

I know that you can do this...not just finish it, but do it justice. You have more talent than you realize. But soon you will have it all down, ready to manipulate it and sculpt it into its final form, and then you will see the brilliance that you created, and I will finally, happily, be able to say: I knew it all along!

rusk said...

You can count on at least 1 copy sold, and so can Ginger girl. I'll be watching...

Linda Gruchy said...

Hi Firespark, I think we all know what you mean about being afraid, of being found wanting. Or even good, but not quite good enough. The first acceptance is wonderful because it shows you have what it takes, but intil then it acan be very demoralising. I've been lucky in that an agent took my work seriously early on. But even so, a published piece, especially if paid for, is the one boost to the self esteme we all need.

I would give yourself deadlines to finish the novel, then leave it to rest for a while, concentrating on some short stories, then take another look. You'll be amazed how much you can improve it.

I've just put that first novel, and an anthology on Kindle, and I was seriuously scared that I might have published something which just wasn't polished enough, despite the input from my agent, input from, dare i say it, rave rejections from publishers, and inpit from myself as a more mature writer. It's my book launch weekend, and Wargeld & other Stories is free to download, and both are on Amazon Select if you have a kindle and want to borrow them. YOu are welcome to drop by my blog, Amazon page and FB page and say hi.

x Linda

firespark said...

GG - I know I will. I know *we* will. We feed off each other like that. :)

rusk - you are so awesome. thank you! that just gave me all kinds of warm fuzzies...

Linda - wow, thank you for the thoughtful and encouraging comment! This helps so much. it's good to hear from those who are doing it. I'll definitely check out your book and short stories. And, may I just say, well done! Sounds like you stuck to your guns, believed in your stories, and saw it through until they were released into the world! The world is always a better place with more stories in it. :)

Lola Sharp said...

Fear is what stops most people from accomplishing most things. Fear of failure, fear of success,fear of death, fear of ridicule...the list goes on. The important thing is to acknowledge the fear (and the type of fear), and then DO IT ANYWAY.

Like Oingo Boingo once said (okay, yeah, and, I guess FDR and JFK and...): There's nothing to fear but fear itself.

Live brave,

Lauren said...

You just signed up for my blog this afternoon (or whatever time of day) and I dropped by to visit.

I know about fear. Last August I quit my job to write full time, to focus on my writing. I gave myself a year, because that's how much money I had saved.

The whole process was terrifying.

Lessons Learned #4 (posted on 4/16) applies here. "If you're not doing something because you're afraid, it's the wrong reason. Every time."

firespark said...

Lola & Lauren - Of course you are both so right. This is one of those areas of life where you just have to be fearless or risk doing nothing.

Thanks for all the encouragement. I can't wait to see how your writing careers take off! :)