Just let it all out

This story is hopeless it has no direction no plot several different plots all of which rely on other bits of plot from unrelated plots to have any form of cohesion to begin with I have no idea what I’m doing this book only got written because the first chapter got really positive feedback and I liked the praise the actual story could be told in like twenty thousand words at most why have I even spent all this time trying to get it to work it’s not even a story it’s a collage of yeast I scraped out from under my fingernails all this time I could have been writing an actual story and it might actually be done by now because it would be an ACTUAL FUCKING STORY THREE YEARS THREE FUCKING YEARS AND IT’S BEEN ONE ZERO DRAFT AND A SINGLE REVISION I WILL NEVER FINISH THIS BOOK I CAN’T EVEN THINK OF HOW TO REVISE IT I CAN’T MAKE DECISIONS THERE IS NO DECISION TO MAKE BECAUSE THIS STORY IS A NON-THING WHY DID I EVEN TRY WHAT IS THE FUCKING POINT EVEN


Writing Tallulah has taught me a lot of things. It taught me how good it feels to stick to a plan, and how important it is that you allow yourself to change that plan as it unfolds. It taught me not to give out my very first draft for feedback, certainly not while I’m in the middle of writing the damn thing. It taught me that some plot-holes don’t want to be gotten rid of. It taught me the joy of actually fucking writing something, of having accomplished something I set out to do and more or less made up as I went along. It taught me how euphoric it feels to be writing. And it taught me that I can write things I don’t think I’m capable of writing.

So many times in the past few weeks I’ve felt like I’ve had The Breakthrough, and every single time it’s been superseded by the next one, until now I’m congested with Breakthroughs that I have to pick and choose amongst in order to move forward, or try and mix them together into something coherent, take the best bits from all of them and hope it works as a story.

It could be that it’s actually working, and I just won’t be able to tell that it’s working until I’ve done it and can look back on the end result. Which is annoying, because while I’m in the process of doing it and I’m unconvinced, I’m trying to find a thought, a decision that will convince me, and I have yet to find one of those.

I have two major plot-holes and then a bunch of priorities to sort out. The plot-holes enable me to structure the story I want to structure it, but in terms of being a Good Writer I should replace them with something that isn’t a hole. I just can’t think of anything. Or rather I can, but I prefer the sweeping changes I’ve thought up to replace them, and now …

Yeah, there’s the problem. Pretty fucking obvious. Planning in ink is all very well in the present, but I’m working with almost three years of story that has all been planned in pencil.

I want it to be different. That’s going to take work. I’m not thinking it through. I’m thinking of what I’ve got, which is already done, and in my mind the process of swapping X for Y is absolutely nothing. It requires almost no effort, except for creating Y in the first place, and I do that shit my every waking moment. I don’t think of how it’s going to be to actually have to sit the fuck down and type out this shit for hours and weeks and possibly another year until it’s even finished and ready for me to re-read, and then judge, and analyse, and make notes on, and think of how I can then start the entire fucking process all over again. I don’t think of the toll this shit takes on my mind and my body and my energy when I actually do it, because I’m not actually doing it, and I have zero imagination, apparently, or just so context-sensitive as to be useless.

But okay. I’m imagining now. I loved being in the flow of writing during the zero draft, even though it drove me insane half the time and there were stalls all along the way. That’s just part of the flow. I was writing it all from scratch, with no pre-existing material to draw from. That was part of what made it so exciting; it was all completely fresh, new creation.

I’m way past that now. I’m a draft and a revision in, and it’s not writing I’m going to be doing: it’s rewriting. And if I was going to just rewrite all of it from scratch, maybe that’d be something, but there’s no point in doing that when I have a lot of material that is perfectly useable. And it was a tense, miserable, uncertain slog a lot of the time with the last revision – not the actual process of revision, but just working myself up to revise at all. I hated trying to make myself revise; I never wanted to do it that I can remember, just wanted to want to do it and used the word “want” to mean “have decided that I should”.

I am stuck, and I don’t know how to get un-stuck.

Maybe just keep doing shit and see how it goes.

Maybe stop planning, even though it’s been going all right, and just get to rewriting without a plan, and make up the plan as I rewrite.

Seriously, I don’t see how that’s any worse than what I’m doing right now.

I judge this process incredibly harshly. I judge every decision I make, from the writing strategies and ethics I deploy to the contents of the story itself, their codes and symbolic significances and representations of reality. I try to use real-world cause-and-effect instead of trusting the conventions of fiction to carry me through, because I’m terrified of being criticised.

I don’t just do the fucking work.

Okay, not true. Obviously at some point I do actually get around to the actual work, otherwise I wouldn’t be where I am. But so much time is spent just fretting.

I don’t think I’m going to get anywhere tonight, so I’ll just stop here. I guess this post is just going to be a venting rant. Sometimes that’s all you’ve got in you.


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