Ever look back and read work you’ve done in the past to realize it sucks so bad you almost feel physically ill?
Yep, that happened to me in a big way Sunday. The previous week my son started school on Wednesday, so I started working on my new novel with gusto (I’d been waiting all summer to start!), but realized I had some background information and research that needed to be done first. Then I got the bright idea to read the half completed first draft of my second novel (Dark Territories) over the weekend. God, what a horrible, awful, terrible disappointment that turned out to be.
I couldn’t even get all the way through two chapters before I decided I’d had enough, because I was real close to vomiting. Yeah, it was that bad. And I can’t even pinpoint one specific thing that was terrible. There was a well balanced amount of terribleness from stiff and completely out of character dialogue to plot leaps that would make a mountain goat proud. There were tie-ins from one story arc to another that left me wondering exactly how much I had to drink that day. And please don’t even get me started on my long windedness. I could probably make a schooner set sail with all that blustering air moving about in each scene.
The end. The most two satisfying words a writer can ever write. The end. Two words standing alone that means more than all other words put together. And as those two words are written and then stared at in shocked disbelief, a rush of emotions hit in one great punch. Ecstatic happy dancing commences… Swirling ribbons of sadness twist in the stomach at the realization that a great journey is finally over… But mostly a profound relief settles and solidifies as the truth finally hits home… after countless days of hard work, overcoming large bouts of self-doubt and writer’s block, constant rewrites and edits, and grueling self imposed hours The End finally came.
Yeah, that was me three weeks ago as I finished my novel Blood Feud.
Granted, I’m not completely done. I sent the last draft out to pre-readers to get some feedback. Once I hear back, I may make a few changes here or there, but for the most part it’s done. And even though I say that and have had three weeks to bask in my novels completion, I’m still somewhat in disbelief. I’ll be honest there were many days, weeks, and months when I never thought the novel would ever be completed despite my always optomistic behavior of “I will get to the end no matter what!”
As always I like to make a few goals for myself for the new year. I like to cement it here on my blog for accountability, but also I feel when I put something in writing I am more likely to get it done. I try not to go overboard and do unrealistic goals that I couldn’t get done in five years if I tried. In fact, this year I am keeping it simple with just a few things I want to try for, but they are significant to me.
Goal 1… And I know I’ve been saying this for the last two years, but for once I really do see this as a possibility… finish my novel Blood Feud. I’m at the halfway point in the fourth draft. All I have to do is finish the fourth draft and go through and do a quick polish draft and it will be DONE. I think it’s very reasonable to think I can get all that done in 2015.
Let’s continue the journey across the great expanse of space to the Ethian Empire and the underground tavern where Markus Nador has turned the tables and is now questioning me after my attempt to interview my character in A Character Interview and a Journey to Another Galaxy…
I sit back down at the table and look across to Markus expectantly. Gone is the attempt to hide in the shadows as he leans forward with a smug grin that makes me think that perhaps he’d planned this turn of the tables all along.
I invite you to take a trip to listen in as I interview a character of my current work in progress (my science fiction novel Blood Feud). So strap on a seat belt and take a trip far into the deep reaches of space with me…
Deep in the heart of a galaxy more than 100,000 light years away, is a city-world that has become eaten up by a landscape of mountainous architecture. But underneath the Capitol mega-city lays a dark underworld of labyrinths and secret places. Where those in the Ethian Empire go to become forgotten, or the Fazha find a home to scratch out an existence. In this dark and dank place I go into the depths of the city of rejects, abandoned, and lawless to find the person I seek.
Obsession. It’s a word that many people view in a negative context. Probably because it’s a singling out of one thing that usually gives imbalance to a well-rounded life style. But really, who actually lives a well-balanced lifestyle? So then, why even think of an obsession as a bad thing? In fact, many who have entered into this heightened state are usually the ones who actually get things done. Dictionary.com defines obsession as “the domination of one’s thoughts or feelings by a persistent idea, image, desire, ect.” Sounds to me like a the exact place a writer needs to be.
Unfortunately we live in a world ruled by expectations. By age one we are expected to be talking. By first grade we have to be reading. By twenty we have to be studying hard at college or join the military or have some other career path set before us. By early twenties (late twenties at latest) we must have our lives figured out and working diligently to make it happen. But rarely do these expectations actually ever happen the way other people think they should, or even we think they should. Life likes to throw curve balls, or worse, we just don’t dance to the beat of the what-is-expected drum.