This book is fucking awful.
Which is fine. Because not only is it a first draft, not only is it a writing exercise rather than a “proper story”: I want it to be awful, because I want it to feel like a story, and given the kinds of stories I’m drawing on to tell this one, awful very much comes with the territory. I mean this is a story about a self-pitying straight white teenage boy who becomes a fucking werewolf; if that summary alone doesn’t make your skin crawl then you have a stronger constitution than I. I’m hitting all the notes that this premise offers for the hitting; it’s working. My experiment is working. I may not be able to bear the shame of it when I eventually finish it and get around to reading what I’ve written, but that’s for later. For now, it’s going pretty much exactly how I’d imagined it would, at its most ideal.
Although the other part that’s awful is the part where I’m over-writing it, and even though it’s in keeping with that cringe-making premise, it’s still … it’s too much. The fact that it’s too much is part of that premise, as far as I’m concerned, because self-pitying straight white guys just kind of take up a lot of space that could be used to further the narrative instead of their pity-party, but it’s still kind of depressing to write. I predict – or maybe hope – that when/if I get around to revising this thing, every single word that I just wrote tonight will be removed. It’s a scene that kind of needs to happen, but probably not at this point in the story. And that’s fine in a first draft, signposting this shit for yourself so that you get it down in writing before you forget and put it in such a jarring place that you will be automatically compelled to put it somewhere more appropriate during revision – it’s just that, again, actually doing it feels uncomfortable. I mean this isn’t supposed to be the project where I consider this sort of thing, really. This is the project where I indulge my inner hack, rip things off and write the first thing that comes into my head, training myself to make the first thing that pops into my head something that drives the story forward and ties it together in the recognisable, familiar pattern of a Proper Story. And that is what I feel like I’ve lost touch with after 5 days of no writing.
But, that’s also where revision can save my ass. And I am going to revise this thing. It’s definitely not generic enough right now, because it’s too first-draft-y; all of the usual gunk that happens in the first draft is happening here, and, well, that’s just reality. I kind of have this unacknowledged goal to try and write this in one go, in such a way that it is so tight, generic and predictable that it won’t need a revision, and now that I’m acknowledging it I’m starting to wonder if this is an attainable goal, let alone a desirable one.
But hey, you gotta live a little. Why not try and do something unattainable? You’ll probably end up with something interesting along the way.
And this is definitely interesting for me. The pressure and momentum of Nanowrimo is well and truly gone; the spark is still there, but it needs some serious fanning to re-ignite. Tonight was more indulgent than anything, even if it does fit the premise I’m working with. And that’s fine, because through doing it I have learnt that I’m definitely more interested in honing my narrative craft than making excuses for sloppy storytelling based on other examples I’ve seen. Problematic? Fine. But not sloppy. Sloppy is unacceptable.
Except that it’s totally acceptable and I can just move the fuck on. It’s just a writing exercise.
More of which I will complete tomorrow.