I’m at the point where I’m 1/2-way through this damned novel, and suddenly I’m paralyzed. I feel like it’s utter shit, and I can’t make any headway because I have no faith in my ability as a writer. I am, at this moment, convinced that I’m going to spend the next forty years as a second-string English teacher and a failed writer.
And I look at my last post, and I know it’s true, but I’m not sure I’ve got enough strength in me right now to kick that asshole in the teeth. I mean, I’m doing it–I’m even sitting here writing–but this shit is SO BAD.
Good thing I have permission to write badly, I suppose. But I’m starting to think this novel is destined for the trunk. I guess that might not be a bad thing if I learn something from it. And one never knows, I suppose.
Anyway. Enough self flagellation; back to work.
Edit: I just went back and read over my entries from VP, because I thought it might work as an ego boost. And I was reminded of the specifics of what Jim MacDonald said to me (I really should write that down somewhere in case I ever actually forget, though I probably won’t). And that seems to have banished the self-doubt, though it hasn’t done much for the fried synapses not coming up with anything new.
Yeah. I’m one. Chances are, if you’re a writer, so are you. You, too, have that Beast within. It says things like “Yeah yeah yeah, you can write a sentence. No shit, asshole; you teach English. But can you tell a story? No! You’re shit! Just fucking turn off the computer, and go play on the X-Box or watch a fucking movie or something, because YOU ARE NEVER GOING TO PUBLISH A GODDAMNED THING, NEVER MIND THAT STUPID BOOK!
The trick is to let that inner voice rage. Let it tell you how your rejections will always be numerous whlie you never, ever get an acceptance. Let it assure you that your ideas are trite, your prose hackneyed, your future tech ridiculously stupid, your characters flat, and your title dumb. Let it remind you that you’ve been doing this for years and never gotten where you want to be. Let it tell you that you suck.
Then kick it in the fucking teeth. Lock it back in the mental basement where it belongs, along with your childhood fear of Nazis (thank you, childhood watching Wonder Woman) and your belief that you were an alien secreted on Earth by your real parents to protect you (thank you, Powers of Matthew Star).
Some days, it’s easy. The voice is stupid. It’s just fear talking. Other days, it’s harder. The voice is the Voice of Reality, come to rid you of your delusions of literary adequacy.
Ignore it. it’s a stupid voice. It doesn’t know anything.
Sit down. Keep writing.
So, I finally got that sleep I’ve been needing. And I’ve been writing. Around 40,000 words now.
I realized yesterday, however, that I have a secondary character who needs to go. Poor Takeshi comes on the page for a few statements, then disappears for chapters even though he’s in the same fairly small starship. I thought about beefing him up, inserting him a bit, but the fact is he’s superfluous. He’s an unimportant character who, in this version of the story, serves no purpose.
He used to have a purpose, but that subplot got removed, as it A) was too maudlin, and B) undercut the protagonist’s likability. But once I’d removed the plot, I had nothing for him to do. I suspect he needs to be cut. But I haven’t got time to look back, so I’m going to keep working forward, and if I’ve got a place for him I’ll use it, and beef up his appearances in the first half. If not, I’ll excise him in the editing phase.
I’m also concerned about one of the other secondaries; he serves a purpose but I’m not sure having him where he is serves that purpose. And that I need to figure out before I get to the next chapter, because he’s much more important to the plot and I’m not sure I’m using him right. But maybe. Wait… processing… processing… oh. Yes, that’s what I’ll do with him. Excellent; thanks for the help, people!