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bear by san

March 2017

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bear by san

hold on, hold on to yourself, because this is gonna hurt like hell.

Okay, so here I am, and I have 12,300 words of this stupid story (which I still hate with the fire of a thousand supernovas) and I am declaring it a Bad Draft. Now, please understand, a Bad Draft is not anything like an actual draft.

It's more like a really long and inaccurate outline.

But I can't stand looking at the damned thing for another minute, so I have printed it out (including the page with the [Insert Climactic Space Battle Here]) and put a paper clip on it and stuck it on the corner of my desk reserved for stories I'm not talking to.

What's wrong with it? Well, for starters, it's boring. And clumsy. And has several completely unexplained coincidences that need to become something other than unexplained coincidences. And the language is awful. When did I forget how to write? When did my prose get so bad? The only thing I like in all sixty pages of the damned thing is a single Ray Bradbury joke.

Now, Other People, who have seen parts of it, assure me that it is no such thing (that in fact it's already quite creepy and neat, and will probably only get moreso), and as these are People I Trust, I have to trust them.

I am, I know, my own worst critic.

It doesn't make working on a story when you hate every word of it any easier.

On the other hand, I have in fact written entire novels while loathing every damned word of the damned things. Pretty good novels, or so I am told. So I know it can be done.

I am a professional, kids. Don't try this at home.

See, this is probably a sign that I need to take some time off. Unfortunately, the absolute bare minimum I need to get done between now and the end of the year is to get "Wehrwolf" written, to get "The Death of Terrestrial Radio" written, to get a decent draft of "King Pole, Gallows Pole, Bottle Tree," get a draft of "Knock on Coffins" written as part of my contribution to the Secrit Projekt (Yes, I liked the title so much I am stealing it for potentially-paying work. If you can't steal from the best, steal from yourself, I say.), and get "Bone & Jewel Creatures" written.

And the Puritan Work Ethic Monkey (also known as the Guilt Gorilla) is giving me absolute fits.

So that's a total of seventy thousand words or so, which isn't bad. Except there are several other short stories I'd like to get cleared off my desk--"Smile," "Your Collar," and "On Safari in R'lyeh and Carcosa With Gun and Camera." I think I am just declaring "Periastron" and "Dark on Wednesdays" dead. I'm just going to steal the cool conceit from "Dark on Wednesdays" and use it in "King Pole," because I need something like that for when I do the not-so-bad draft, and I might as well burn story.

This had better not be another plateau, that's all I'm saying. Because the last one I swear nearly turned me into a pharmacist.

In the meantime, my Gmail account is pretty close to capacity, so I'm busy downloading 2.5 gigs of email, dating from August of 2004, so that I can clean the damned thing out and start over with a nice shiny gmail account. I am up to January of 2005.

It's a good thing that I don't have any plans.

Eudora rocks, I just gotta say, and always has, and now that Gmail has POP capability, I suspect I will be returning to its loving embrace.

Comments

time to hate banjo/guitar for a while..
Nah. I'm *allowed* to suck at that. I'm only doing it for my own infotainment.
Words of sympathy somehow seem hollow and contrite. With personal or professional endeavors we've all hit the wall at one time or the other and it's not a pleasant place to be. I for one rather prefer you as a writer not a pharmacist (besides Charlie Stross's descriptions of that gig sound no fun).

Hang in there bear lady. Your fans do care about you.
I suspect, in all actuality, that if you ever start thinking you've gotten the hang of this writing gig (and when I say you I mean me) you start to suck pretty promptly.

I mean, I know intellectually that this story isn't any worse than a dozen other stories I've written....

Actually, there's a funny thing. Often, the ones *I* like least are the stories that do gangbusters for me. Possibly, I like them least because they are the closest to being translated out of Bear and into whatever it is the rest of you people think in. *g*

So they seem weirdly flat to me, because I'm not speaking my native idiom.
Huh.

So *that's* why the backbrain threw the new novel idea at me on Sunday instead of letting me progress on the bleeeh fantasy novel.

New novel idea is teh cool.

Fantasy novel is blah.

Heh.
Yeah, well, you have to finish the fantasy novel anyway.

Even though you hate it.
I hear ya, on all counts.

So if you have a corner of your desk for stories you aren't talking to, where do the stories that aren't talking to you go? I don't mean the ones that are being close-mouthed and not growing from ideas into proper stories; I mean the ones that have apparently gotten offended at you. Or do you not have those?
Nope. I have plenty that aren't rooting....
But I can't stand looking at the damned thing for another minute, so I have printed it out (including the page with the [Insert Climactic Space Battle Here]) and put a paper clip on it and stuck it on the corner of my desk reserved for stories I'm not talking to.

That's really interesting. In my struggles to produce reliably (especially to produce reliably on the same story instead of constantly starting new ones), I'm trying to build up a repertoire of 'useful things to do when things go wrong'.

Mind talking about the things that you do when things go wrong? (I think I need coping advice more than lit-theory advice.)
Keep writing, even though it sucks.
*tilts head* How does one download email?
Go look under "settings". You will see a tab labled something like "forwarding and POP"
"On Safari in R'lyeh and Carcosa With Gun and Camera"

As the youth on the Internet says, STILL DO WANT.
Yeah, well, I'd like to get it off my to-do list, too, but it doesn't seem to be moving, now does it?
You know, I'm so glad you blogged this. I'm going to bookmark it and file it under "Just remember pros have days when they feel they suck too".

I've been quite prolific (for me) these past few months, working on a number of stories and finishing quite a few. But I hate it when you kinda finish giving birth to them and you know they're not quite right but the only way to knwo what's not right is to get 'em critted and see what people say.

So I send it to friends to read and ask their opinion and they all come back with 100 different points all contradicting each other, and then I start showing all my writerly insecurities and asking for external validation 9"but is it a stronger / more complex / better written / more emotional / etc. story than the last.) and a friend of mine said soemthing that might help you.

He said that as I was fretting over the story and feeling it sucked, that was good, because it showed that I was out my comfort zone which meant I still willing to grow as a writer. If I didn't stress or stretch myself or just write clones of my previous stories, I would just go stale. The suckage apparently is a sign of progress. I thought this quite profound from a friend who I once told "you're my friend, of course I'm prejudice against you."

I've also found that 10 day free trials of Online games are a good way to escape into virtual worlds and hide from your stories without the fear of addiction (I once had some of my prose crit so bad, I managed to get a level 60 Hunter in WoW out of it 2 months later - this is why I now stick to the trials). So I'm gonna go be a superhero in City of Heroes for 10 days and then look at things a fresh.