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Friday, August 7, 2015

New and unanticipated difficulties, hooray!

I was so excited to start writing narrative. My outline was complete and finally everything made sense: all the clues pointed in all the right directions, and I’m no longer relying on Cassidy’s biases and lack of experience to create tension where there really isn’t any. I think—I really do—that this book is going to be good.

So why can’t I write it?

I think the biggest problem is that I haven’t found Cassidy’s voice yet. Exploring the feminist/sexist aspect of the story was a choice that I made from the get-go, but it’s really not fun to write the scenes, especially so early in the writing process. (Note to self: maybe I could put this scene on hold and come back to it once I’m on more secure footing?)

So, Cassidy is less inexperienced in this version. She needs to start with a good amount of confidence and authority so that when the shit hits the fan, her loss of objectivity and her feelings of being “at sea” are more powerful. There are clues gotten from interrogation, from intuition, from observation, and from hands-on investigation. (In my reading, it seems that all of these things are necessary to make the hardboiled detective who s/he is.) There is a world outside Cassidy’s investigation, and some of the people-of-interest have other shady shit going on that is unrelated to the case but will influence they way they deal with her. And, she gets to start building contacts in her new city.

But when I sit down to the keyboard, the words don’t seem to come.

Here’s the kind of stupid shit I do to avoid writing but still claim I’m “being productive”: I made an HTML version of the Google doc of my story so far. I mean, I set the page width, the font, font size, there’s a gray border around the “page,” there are page breaks and page numbers and everything. Why? I dunno. Cause. Now it’s in a format I could, theoretically, email my friends and it wouldn’t take as long to load as a Google doc. Also cause playing with CSS is fun. And it’s both easier and more technically challenging than writing. I am just so... tense about writing.

It’s super bizarre, too, because over the last few days (weeks?) I’ve really started understanding, intellectually, that I can’t “screw it up.” Text is so much kinder than any other creative medium if you make a mistake: you just hit backspace. Yes, you might end up deleting entire sentences, paragraphs, pages... or even entire drafts. But you can try, try again at virtually no cost. So why am I so freaked out?

There are no words.

But I’ve decided I’m not going to beat myself up. It really doesn’t do any good.

Word count: 1,989 (߅)

2 comments:

Becky Munyon said...

Yeah, today it's easy to fix a writing mistake. What would we do if we were back in the typewriter days? Editing was a whole different beast.
Try not to be so freaked out, it sounds like your brain is on the right track.

Becky Munyon said...

Oh, yeah, and I also think it's going to be good.