(Insert Imperial Death March here)

Congrats to Greg Bardsley for nailing my problem right on the head (shut up, John). In his comment on my last post he asked me if I’d always felt hatred toward writing crime fiction and suggested I might just be burnt out on it or it might be growing pains from trying something different. For the record, no, I have not always felt this way about crime fiction. Since I moved from sci-fi and fantasy in my high school days, I’ve enjoyed and excelled in crime fiction. The reason I seek refuge in literary fiction is one of mere laziness. I don’t want to have to create strong characters unlike myself and a plot that not only gives me opportunity for fun dialogue and situations, but also tells a cohesive story. But good writers don’t give up on something just because it’s hard and I’m not going to give up on this book.

The other part of the problem, in addition to what Greg alluded to, is the pressure I’ve been putting on myself. My 31st birthday is less than a month away and I’m no closer to a book deal now than I was last year. I want to be published now even though my book might not be ready. Since I’ve placed these arbitrary time goals on myself, everything that comes off the keyboard needs to be perfect so I don’t waste any time with revisions. But that’s not how I work. My best process is one of multiple messy drafts and lots of exploration and backtracking. I need to get back to that and let myself write the messy first draft this book needs.

The first person bounty hunter stuff is pretty solid. I’ve got lots of practice in that area. But the third person scenes involving an 18 year old girl on the run are killing me. I have absolutely no experience writing this type of story and it plays into every one of my writing weaknesses so it’s going to take a few tries to get it right. Toady I’m going to go back and cut off a bunch of scenes that were taking the story in a direction I didn’t like and start again with it. I feel better about my situation and I’m going to give myself the time and space to do this book right.

And if all else fails, I hear truck drivers make good money and get to travel frequently.

7 thoughts on “(Insert Imperial Death March here)

  1. Hey Q,Everyone has these existential crises, so consider yourself in good company. If you weren’t concerned with your work, setting goals and achieving them, making your work the best it can possibly be… you wouldn’t be a writer. That’s the attitude it takes to be a professional — deadlines, story issues, feelings of disappointment in yourself happen whether you’re published or not, so at least you have that. :)I would suggest not trying so damn hard. Write the story. Get the story down. Don’t rewrite as you go, don’t worry about making that scene perfect. Just write the story, beginning to end, then go back and make it into a book. It might make your life easier.AND, write that literary novel. Why not? Many writers delve into different genres, there’s no one right way. Your talent lies in your ability to put those words on paper in a meaningful way. The genre will take care of itself as you write the story — light, dark, crime or literary.

  2. [Affecting important gaze off into the distance] Well, you know, I do what I can …. On the serious side, I think as some folks have advised, I’d also encourage you to just get that sucker on paper, when it comes to your first draft. My developing theory is to get through the first draft without looking back, forcing yourself not to read what you’ve written, because 1] It will cloud your judgment when it’s time to revise 2] It slows down actual progress, and 3] The chances are writers like me, at least, are gonna end up either cutting a third of it or revising it anyway. As for timelines and life charts and things not happening when you were hoping, I feel your pain. I think most writers have definitely been there. Things rarely happen when we want them to, especially in publishing, etc. Hang in there and have fun.

  3. When confronting your weaknesses the first thing to do is identify them, which it seems you have already done. The next step is searching out writers who have excelled in those areas. Read their writing carefully, I mean very carefully. Slow down and analyze how they accomplished whatever it is they’ve done. Continually think about your own work in relation to their strategies and approaches – but remember you can’t force a square peg into a round hole so their technique may not work for what you are writing. And don’t stay within one genre when doing this – expand into sci-fi and lit fic. And as much shit genre writer may get from the literati, lit fic is a wonderful source in demonstrating what one can get away with. They may treat us like whores, but we can at least pick their pockets for ideas.

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