Tuesday, May 08, 2007

To Write, or Not to Write...

That is the question.

I see that it has been some time since I last posted. There are many reasons for this, including the selling of drugs (my profession), writing my second novel (my passion), and Global Warming (a pretension: but, since it is responsible for everything else...).

There are times when every Writer wonders whether to continue writing; when rejection by Pubbers, writer's block, apathy of loved ones, and derision of critics all, or singly, conspire against us.

Some Writers defeat these enemies of setting pen to paper or fingers to keyboard by dreams of becoming the next Stephen King (Horrors) J.K. Rowling (Hogwarts) or Dan Brown (Hogwash). Others seek Literary Fame in the Genre that Takes Itself Much Too Seriously to Be Enjoyed. I don't have examples of those types of authors, since I don't read them. This will no doubt make them feel better about the value of the outpourings of their souls, since to them I am a Philistine. I write Fantasy.

I wrote my first novel just to see if I could do it. I had help in the form of a friend, let's call her Madam Editor (she has a Master's in English, so perhaps I should call her Mistress Editor. Or maybe even Editrix...) , to whom I submitted the first half of the first chapter. "Pretend this is a creative writing essay," I said, "and put blue pen marks all over it. Please." She asked where the rest of the chapter was. "Um," I said, "it's not done yet." So she told me to finish the chapter and send it.

I wrote the whole novel that way, waiting for Madame Editor's comments, editing, and then on to the next chapter. After I finished, she did a once-over of the entire MS for me. Yes I do know how incredibly fortunate I am. Because I was getting immediate feedback, I learned to do things instinctively that many writers only learn later: writing with your 'ideal reader' in mind (Madam), self-editing, and how to tease your readers with cliff-hanging chapter endings. The Madam called me after one particularly steep ending. "Is Diane dead, or not?" she asked. "I'm not telling you," I replied. "Ok, then," she said, "You have 48 hours to get the next chapter to me."

So I learned about deadlines under threat of grievous bodily harm, as well.

But mostly I learned that writing is something I must do. It's part of how I now define myself. More than that, it is a compulsion, a need, an addiction. The sequel isn't proceeding as quickly as the first, because the exigencies of Real Life have intervened: I have interrupted the thing not because of Writer's Block, but by choice.

And it's been bloody miserable. My mind refuses to accept that my fingers haven't been typing at the usual rate, or frequency, and it rushes off, carried headlong by the Muse, into all sorts of Dreams of scenes that simply beg to be written down. They pile on top of one another, and side by side, till my head has swollen so large it's difficult to get in and out of doors.

I have had, therefore, to resume my former schedule of writing. It was either that or suffer a violent psychic hemorrhage.

Oh, and I had a conversation with Madame Editor today. She hasn't seen any of the sequel yet, since I refused to put her through the ordeal, and she declined to read it without being able to turn the page after a precipitous chapter ending.

"Did you know that McAllister -" I began. "No," she said. "No, no, no." So I tried again. "He doesn't want to be tempted -" I said. "I'm not listening." she said, which I respected, at least until the next time I tease her with a detail or two about the book.

The Writers among you will know how that conversation made me feel. The rest of you can eat you heart out.

17 comments:

Erastes Christianou said...

Ah...Writer's Block. Where's a sledgehammer when you need it. Oh wait! Mr. Davis's mallet! I could use that to break my writer's block! Muahaha!

*ahem* Yup, I can definitely understand how that conversation made you feel - I get that feeling when I I'll write part of a short story, show it to someone, and they say "Ok... what's next?" Me: "Uh...nothing?" Them: "You'd better fix that!"

'Tis fun :) Although, I need to keep my eyes in the right place (conference joke, per critique session with Mr. Davis).

I'm glad you were able to go back to a writing schedule without your head exploding. keep it up - I don't want to see you with a big head at the next FCWC :D

Zonk said...

Actually Madame Editor attended the FCWC this year :P.

I'm not sure I will be there next year or not at this point.

I'm hoping you'll attend as an author next year :D

AstonWest said...

We all need a Madame Editor...
(I much prefer Mistress Editor...)

Zonk said...

I'll let her know you said so, aston :D

Erastes Christianou said...

Aye, we all do.

*blinks* She was?? Who?

Zonk said...

Oh no, I am NOT outing her on my blog.

No, no, lol. I value my friendship with her far too highly. *grins*

AstonWest said...

Nominated you for a Thinking Blog award over at my blog...enjoy!

Roheryn said...

I know the feeling... I HATE writer's block...
although, sometimes, fixing it can be a problem too...
considering last time I really made a break through with writer's block, I broke my charrie's arm... she wasn't happy with that...

Maybe you should get a journal.
That's how I do it. I have a notebook that I keep with me to write down a brief description of all those ideas before MY head explodes...

By the way, this ish another of the 'Dragonettes' from FCWC...
the one with the extra blue ears ^__^

Zonk said...

I'm honored, aston.

Hi roheryn! I was very impressed with the lot of you at the conference. You're all getting a much earlier start than I did :D

Kare Alethieas said...

Now you've left us with a mystery to solve Sir Zonk. Who your Madame Editor is...I have a few thoughts. But I didn't know everyone there, by any means.

I think we all know what you mean by a block. And by real life getting in the way. 'Tis the writer's bane, and yet our lot in life.

And aye- I was the shorter blonde who was seen wearing the black cloak two sizes too big around the conference center, and usually a light camo hat. I think I can say for all of us: Thanks for the compliment.

Zonk said...

The cloak was gorgeous.

And Madame Editor, must, I am afraid, remain a mystery. She values her anonymity :D

Kare Alethieas said...

Legossi (Bryan Davis' daughter) made it. We had all made our own by the time we parted ways though.

Roheryn said...

I thank you for the compliment!

We'll be the group walking around in cloaks next year!!!
'cause I know that I'm going to try to come back!

Erastes Christianou said...

I plan on trying to come back too!! Yup, we'll all be wearing our own cloaks.

I was the "adult" among the four of us dragonettes, as you know by now, I'm sure. I'm the one that was already "teenified", lol.

Erastes Christianou said...

Oh, and thanks for the compliment :)

gdtownshende said...

Has this novel been published?

Zonk said...

Not yet, GT...:-/