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Climbing that Mountain

Finished chapter 1.  Only 23 more to go (give or take...)  

My friends at MagicalWords.net (Faith Hunter, C.E. Murphy, and Misty Massey) and I have been posting and commenting a lot recently about the difficulties inherent in writing as a profession.  Catie has been struggling with a book -- she's reached that point just past the middle where everything seems to fall apart, at least for a while.  I have the same problem with every book I write.  Just about 60% of the way through I come to the conclusion that the book sucks, that I'm a hack, and that I really ought to be doing something else with my life.  Then I find a way past whatever problem had me stumped, and by the time I'm done I'm convinced that it's the best book I've ever written.

I struggled a bit with this first chapter, as I always do.  I'm sure the second and third will give me some trouble, too, but then I'll find a rhythm with the story and everything will be fine.  Misty and Faith post all the time about how important it is to get past whatever troubles they're having, put their butts in the chair, and write.

Writing is hard.  It's work.  Books are not so much products of talent as they are products of perseverence.  During the course of writing a novel I can find a thousand things that could convince me to stop writing.  I get frustrated with a plot line that doesn't go where I want it to.  Even as I hone my craft, I still see flaws in my writing that discourage me and make me want to chuck the whole thing.  I get tired of all the craziness inherent in the publishing business.  I wish I was making more money.  Blah, blah, blah. 

But for all these reasons why I could quit, there's really only one that keeps me going:  I have to finish the story.  I have to finish it for me, I have to finish it for my characters.  Yesterday, Faith compared writers to mountaineers and marathoners.  Both are good analogies.  Runners finish the marathon despite the pain because quitting is unthinkable.  Mountain climbers reach the summit for the same reason.  In my opinion, that's why writers finish books.  I can't run a marathon and I don't have the strength or the drive to climb Denali.  But I'll be damned if I will let myself be beaten by a book.

Comments

( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
karenmiller
Apr. 8th, 2008 09:50 pm (UTC)
Wordy wordy word word word.
davidbcoe
Apr. 8th, 2008 10:08 pm (UTC)
Huh? Explain please.

Edited at 2008-04-08 10:09 pm (UTC)
karenmiller
Apr. 8th, 2008 10:30 pm (UTC)
Oooh! Errr! You don't know that one. Sorry.

Word means I agree wholeheartedly. And I really like the other site, too. Every so often I feel the desperate need for solidarity and the reassurance that I'm not alone in my writerly wailings and flailings.
davidbcoe
Apr. 8th, 2008 11:58 pm (UTC)
Ah! Excellent. Thanks. I was afraid you were telling me that my post was too wordy!
karenmiller
Apr. 9th, 2008 12:40 am (UTC)
No, no, no! It is erudite and most thought provoking! Keep 'em coming, squire!
sboydtaylor
Apr. 9th, 2008 03:07 pm (UTC)
"Yesterday, Faith compared writers to mountaineers and marathoners. Both are good analogies."

You're right. A very good analogy.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on rewriting, especially how you keep your motivation during rewriting. Finishing a first draft has never been the problem, for me. Not giving up in revision is the problem. I mean, in revision the story is already written. For the characters. For me. The mountain has been climbed, but now you need to go back down and carve each step in the staircase again and make sure it is formed correctly. That's the part that kills me.
davidbcoe
Apr. 9th, 2008 03:41 pm (UTC)
Happy to share thoughts on this, but I'd suggest that first you go to the group site, http://magicalwords.net, and check out the post I did on revisions a couple of weeks ago. I think you can filter posts by author and then go through my recent ones. It should be one of the two or three most recent.
sboydtaylor
Apr. 9th, 2008 07:30 pm (UTC)
Thank you very much :)
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )

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