Writing conundrums, part 37b

I don't comment on it much, but I'm in the middle of writing. (Writing something other than this blog entry, that is.)

I'm about 3/4 of the way through a draft on The Book, and I know where things are going, it's just more of a matter of how they're getting there. It's kind of funny to be writing a section, or rewriting a section, or melding two sections together and feel like somewhere we got off track. Then it has to breathe at least a night so I can come back and re-read where my mind was going and almost all of the time I see where the patchwork has to go. But the limited time I have at night to re-read what I wrote, patch it up, then tackle a new section means I go at a very, very slow pace.

And the dog needs petting. Or she loses her ball under the bed and stars whimpering. So there are distractions.

But the inspirations come at the oddest of times. I feel like this universe I've been thinking about for so long lives in a corner of my brain at all times, moving at a snail's pace, jumping back and forth in time, re-enacting scenes set in stone, until I pull it forward each night and make it live in real-time. But while it's back there, stewing, bits and pieces float forward and insist that I consider them for inclusion. Why not say it this way? What if this was her motivation? This needs better foreshadowing. And so on. I have a small stack of paper near the computer with notes and considerations and re-thinks; I have a whole folder in the computer with deleted scenes for re-consideration (kind of like a personal Box Set DVD, I guess) and I have another folder with articles and song lyrics and just general thoughts to give the world three dimensions.

I'm a little anxious right now: Someone I care about has requested, quite firmly, that he read the story and I've sent him the first 60 pages — with the caveat that it isn't quite finished, though it is mostly so. On the one hand, I'd love it if all of my friends and close relations and near acquiantances called me regularly to ask about the story, or to read more, or to find out when the bloody thing would be done. But yanno, that doesn't happen and that's also okay. Occasionally, though, someone will make a point of saying they want to read it and then I almost get a sick feeling. Not so much because of what they will say or will not say — I'm up for criticism but basically I'm fairly solid on my talents, or lack thereof, or shortcomings, or lack thereof. What I fear most is silence.

This has happened. I have a dear friend — or, I should perhaps say had a dear friend; she's not returned calls and taken no initiative to contact me for almost a year, so I think she's pretty well gone — with whom I shared the whole story about a year and a half ago. Nothing since, not even "well, you know, it's okay for an amateur." And you don't want to pester people. But the thing is, when I give the story away I am giving a personal slice of myself. Ignoring it is worse than taking a crap on it, the same way indifference, not hate, is the opposite of love. So I always preface handing it out, if I do hand it out, by saying I really do need feedback, as detailed as possible, good or ill — and you have to promise to actually read it. Don't try and make me feel good by going "yeah, I'll read it!" and then let it gather dust. Either don't ask, or follow through.

The most recent story requester has had it for three days, and while I do think he will tackle it, a familiar pattern is taking hold: There's no ink in the printer. So ink must be bought. And then it must be printed out. And then — oh, wait, something shiny over here! Personally, I can read on the computer. I know not everyone can. But I'm anxious anyway — because I wouldn't give the story if I thought it would be the cause or source of what has to be a relationship-ending move on the part of a friend. In the end, if you don't read the story, or continually give excuses as to why you haven't read it, I just can't get beyond that. You shouldn't have asked in the first place. Don't borrow my fine china and then not eat off of it, either.

Sigh. I'm way too wrapped up in all this. And then, of course, once I do finish this draft and do another read-through, I have to face the really soul-destroying part of the process: Finding an agent. And getting it published.

Look for a lot more grousing in this space to come.