Thursday, February 3, 2011

Five Things You Never Want to Do. And Why I Do Them

The week’s been zooming by at an incredible pace. I’ve been plugging away at my hopeful novel (when I haven’t been either working or stealing a peek at an episode or two of PSYCH) and have come to the that horrid place where I’m pretty sure I can no longer judge the worth of what I’ve written. I edited down my previous version a bit, which makes it a svelte 67k words as it stands now. Less than I really want it to be – around 80k would have been better.

So how do I bump the size up to where I want it? I don’t know. Because of that itsy little problem of being so in the middle of the book that I have no idea what would make it better or worse. I keep getting these stupid ideas that I’m shoehorning in and am thinking I’m just screwing things up even worse. However, I did make a small list of items that that seem to crop up frequently enough that they worth mentioning.

  1. I can’t say what I mean. “Bob wanted lunch.” There, that wasn’t so hard was it? So why is it that when I write that sentence it comes out like “Bob just so wanted to have what the rest of the world would clearly describe as a lunch.”? Then I have to go back and try to whittle that down into something coherent. If it were only a sentence or two here or there I don’t think it would be too much of an issue. But paragraph after paragraph it goes on. It ends up being a LOT of work trying to clean up prose that is that ugly.
  2. They're, their, there. Sigh. Its, it's. To, two, too. Dammit! I know what they f#*&$ng mean. Why can't I use them properly.
  3. Commas are the bane of my existence. "The funny man, named Frank, was only funny, or so it seemed, when he, as he often did, thought of the word, Catapult." Extended portions of my writing looks like nothing but commas interspersed with the occasional word to break it up.
  4. Too many stupid people. "Hello, I'm Billy the FBI agent, I'm going to set my gun right beside you and then reveal that I'm crooked and will kill you - right after I get back from taking a piss." I hate that sort of stuff so much when I read it, so why does every character I put in my novel act that way? Beats me.
  5. And finally, and this is the worst, why in the world do I write a scene where two characters sit in a bar and TALK about how they just narrowly avoided death by bizarre circumstance? I could have actually written the scene where the do narrowly avoid death, it seems easier and I know it would be more exciting.
And that's only the five things that come to mind off the top of my head. I think I've lost all perspective. A few weeks ago I thought I had a gem that just needed a few touch ups to make it perfect. Now I'm wondering if it was written by a nine year old with drinking problem. Ugh. 

Regardless, I won't call it a lost cause yet. But it's getting damn close.

Stupid book


Nancy said...

The honeymoon is over. we all have days like that when everything we write seems like ridiculous drivel. Give it a couple of days and then look at it again and you will find parts you still like.

Les said...

must be exciting, having it so close to finished.

Rusty Webb said...

Nancy - Indeed, the honeymoon most definitely over for my book. Ugh. I'm sick of it.

Les - Exciting? Ha. I'm just ready to throw up I'm so tired of dealing with it. I just want it done.

Rachel Searles said...

Oh my lord, this post cracked me up. Hey, we all do these things in our writing. The important thing is that you are able to see and change them after you've created them. A bad writer would still think they looked awesome.