The Honest Writer

This blog is an open and honest account of what it’s like to be an author, in the hope it helps others on the same journey feel less alone. I change my mind, I babble, and I occasionally over-share. Please ignore any advice I give (except the advice about ignoring the advice). 

Laugh or Cry

LOL. 

No really, I have to laugh. What did I just say, about this version of B&B feeling good? Yup. Good feelings gone. 

This has happened so many times now that I know something’s up. This goes beyond story. There’s something broken in me. (Oh goody.) I’ve got theories.

Possibility Uno: I have nothing to say about Beauty and the Beast. The Night Mage is kinda B&B-esque, and I did complete a novella in the summer that summed up a lot of what I have to say about beauty. I didn’t decide to write B&B because I had a fantastic idea; I decided to write it because I thought it would be commercially viable. (GREAT IDEA NOT.) So, maybe I’m out? 

Possibility Dos: I’ve been chasing the Muse like a rabid hunter for the last couple of years. I’ve been so desperate to write books quickly, I’ve been chasing any half-assed idea until the point of collapse. My fav books, including The Night Mage, all arrived in my head semi-formed when I wasn’t looking for them. It’s like my attention has to be elsewhere for a story (or usually, a couple of characters) to have the courage to poke its wee head out. 

(To be honest, I think my first and second theories are both true, therefore combining to form one MEGA TRUTH, and therefore there’s no need for a third option. I know what’s wrong. In ma bones, I know it.)

A Plan of Action

I can’t sit around and mope, nor can I take a break from writing (I’ve tried – it’s impossible), nor can I continue down this Path of Madness. So I’ve come up with a plan. This is my plan. *drumroll*

  • To treat myself like an Olympic athlete*, where I train and train and train in preparation for the big event. Except the big event is an idea for a book, and unlike the Olympics the timing is unknown, so really I’m more like a firefighter than an Olympian, but I’m sticking with my original analogy. 
  • Training is broken down into two components: creativity and craft. Creativity training involves a lot of fast, free-flowing writing. Nae rules, no editing – just words. Craft, on the other hand, is more like deliberate practice, where I write with intention, edit with precision, and study grammar, story, and writers I admire. 
  • When an idea comes, I trust my gut. If I think it’s got legs, then I go for it. If the legs fall off, then…you win some, lose some. I hope I can still tell when an idea is worth pursuing, and when it has run out of steam. I hope I haven’t broken myself beyond repair. 

So, that’s my plan. I need a way of continuing to work every day without hounding down any whiff of a novel like some foaming, manic mutt. 

No mutts. That is my new motto.

 

 

*I’m watching the Winter Olympics right now. Those figure skaters…damn.

Beauty and the Beast: A History of Bloody Drafts

I’m currently writing a retelling of Beauty and the Beast. When I’m feeling positive, I say that this book has taught me so much because failure is the best teacher. Most of the time I think this book is going to kill me.

An explanation: I started in June 2017 and originally planned to release a trilogy of retellings over the course of summer (LOL). Anyhoo, I spewed out a 30k novella for Beauty and the Beast. My critique partner, a kind lady, said it wasn’t a load of guff, but it was. Oh, it was. Shortly after finishing the novella, I finally snapped and accepted that no, I couldn’t write a book every month. (Kudos to those who can.)

Long story short, I spent August and September mapping out a seven-book series of retellings, digging down into a huge level of detail, writing about 15000 words…then quitting.

October, I barely wrote a thing.

November, I started again. Beauty and the Beast, take three. Ten thousand words in, and it became Beauty and the Beast take four. Fast-forward to February 2018 and I was on, ooo, my ninth, tenth? version of Beauty and the Beast, and had a folder of 80,000 scrapped words in my Scrivener file.

In early February I had another idea, involving a new(ish) world filled with characters that were partial reincarnations from the previous unfinished stories. I’m now two weeks in, and the story has changed three times already, but…the world and characters feel real to me this time. Like, when I’m not in front of my keyboard, I still see and hear them. I’ve decided this is a Good Sign.

And yet…it’s hard to believe I’ll ever get this draft down. Maybe I’m cursed. Or maybe perfectionism has throttled me. Pfft, who knows. But I’m gonna keep trying, because I can’t allow myself to take a break. I will finish this bloody book, and it will be awesome.

Current WIP: 11304