Working on The Source right now, about 47,000 words in, and I’ve hit a slog. That is to say, one of those times when I just start thinking everything I’m writing is deadly dull, slower than frozen molasses, and every one of my pocket-sized fanbase is just going to roll their eyes and go, “Really? This is what you got?”
I’m not a good judge of this, though, which is why I just have to keep powering through it until I come out the other side. Then I let it sit for a while, read it through, and make the call about whether it really is that slow and unnecessary (in which case it gets cut), or whether I was overreacting and it just seemed slow because it took so long to write. If I decide the latter, then I hand it off to my Picky Beta Reader and let him tell me (in his charming French-lumberjack fashion) whether I’m right.
It’s not helping that I’m in the middle of a Harry Dresden Wizardpalooza, trying desperately to fit reading chapters in between working and writing as I attempt to catch up with the current state of things so I can start reading my shiny new copy of Skin Game. Lemme tell you this: when you’re having one of those crises of confidence that probably plagues every author who ever scratched something on a page or a cave wall or whatever, reading stuff written by the guy who’s arguably the top of the game in your chosen genre does not engender large quantities of warm fuzzies.
Hell, I’m not even getting a lousy tribble.
I just finished reading Changes yesterday. That was a damn good book. So was Turn Coat, which I read a couple of days before (yeah, I read fast). So good, in fact, that when I sit down in front of my computer I can’t help thinking, “I’m never gonna be that good, no matter how hard I try.”
Not great for the ol’ ego.
The good news, though, is that it’ll pass. It always does. No, that doesn’t mean I’ll start thinking I’m as good as Jim Butcher. It means I’ll realize I don’t have to be. I just have to write what makes me happy, tell the stories that I want to tell. If other people want to read them and enjoy them, that will be really awesome. If somebody wanted to buy one of them and publish it, that would be super-double awesome. But at the end of the day, I tell my stories because I love my characters and I want to see what the hell they’re getting themselves up to this week. That’s what drives me.
And I’m doing that. So what am I bitching about?
Hey, I feel better already! Thanks, little blog-thing!
I seem to remember a very wise friend of mine going through a fight scene I was working on that, while technically correct had all the personality and flow of a technical manual, making it so I couldn’t keep it going. (remember that scene?)
I’ve found when I’m slogging through something – there’s something that bothers me on a subconscious level and that is the actual problem – find that and it will flow again.
I don’t remember the scene, but I agree with what you’re saying. I think the only thing that’s going to fix my problem is just to keep going, get it down on paper (or electrons) and then read through it in the context of the whole thing and see if it holds up its weight. I’ve gotten a lot better about “killing my darlings” than I used to be, but it’s still hard. It’s more like “shipping my darlings off to another folder.” 🙂
I’ll tell you, flash fiction has really helped me get over the killing your darlings– Nothing like trying to tell a story in 55-250 words. I do a *lot* of cutting.
And… that folder can come in pretty handy. Good luck.