I could, feasibly, finish my Nano novel today, which is the last day of 2015. I mean all I’d have to do is come up with the perfect string of ideas to weave into the almost-finished tapestry of this story and I’d be sweet.
That’s kind of a big “all I’d have to do”.
I don’t think I can finish this novel today.
I’d like to. I’m kind of judging myself pretty hard for feeling like I can’t make it happen. “Why can’t you just think of the most painfully obvious thing to happen, like you’ve done with every other part of this story? Why is it suddenly so hard now?”
You know what?
That’s not how I wrote this goddamn story.
I wrote this story the exact same way I’ve written every other story I’ve written through to completion: by fucking writing it. I wrote this book because it was Nanowrimo, I wanted a break from Tallulah and how stuck I’d gotten with it; I wanted to prove that I could write just for me, just for my own personal enjoyment, and what I was enjoying at the time was the idea of getting a really generic-yet-solid story written really goddamn fast. Well, actually, it was the idea of getting a story written really goddamn fast, and I decided that a generic-yet-solid story was my best bet, because I’d be able to come up with generic ideas quicker than original ones. Sound logic, right? I mean anybody can be generic; anybody can be predictable and formulaic. It takes somebody who really stands out to be original. Right?
Not if you aren’t writing a generic story.
And that’s the thing: this story isn’t generic. The plot is generic. The beats, the flow, the pace is generic. But the story itself is not. Back in November when I found my “twist” was also when I found the story, and the story is actually pretty original. And that story is what I’ve locked myself into writing with the remaining two-and-a-half planned chapters of this book, and as such it doesn’t fit my plan of winging it, snatching ready-made ideas out of our collective cultural imagination and tossing them into place, because they don’t have a place here anymore.
The thing is, much as I thought I’d enjoy writing a generic book with a generic premise and a generic payoff, I actually couldn’t make myself do it. I couldn’t fucking stand that idea. I steered away from it as violently as I could; it repulsed me at a core level. It was soul-sucking; it wasn’t fun. It wasn’t enjoyable at all, even slightly. It felt physically gross to hold those ideas and even think of committing them to text. So I did something else. And the thing is, that’s the story I want to tell. I know it is. So the remainder of this story is no longer a process of finding the most generic thing possible – it’s finding what’s going to work for this story. And I don’t know what that is.
So I think, instead, I might split my efforts tomorrow between revising this chapter for my MA and reading over what I’ve got so far of my Nano novel. I don’t want to read back over it, at all, but I need to get a sense of what’s happening and what’s needed to pull it all together, to bridge the gap between point A and point F. It’s still a matter of finding the most obvious solution, but what’s obvious is now no longer what’s generic. At least not the kind of generic I’ve been using so far. I may have to look elsewhere, because I haven’t really come across many stories like this before. I may need other sources.
I just really want this to be done.
I’ve already got a plan for what’s going to happen; it’s not doing it for me. Maybe I just need to go back and look at that. Maybe it’s fine. Maybe it’s just that I’m writing this at almost 2 a.m. and I need to recharge. But I’ve been in a rut with this book ever since I finished the final chapter, which I’m reasonably pleased with. I just feel like, if I’ve backed myself into a corner, it’s not the kind that spurs creativity. It’s the kind that drains it.
I’ve set myself up for something very specific, and that means that broad generalities won’t work anymore. That’s the problem in a nutshell. I’ve fucked myself over by getting too specific with my story, and now only a very specific solution, which I have yet to think of, will make the story come together. Anything else will just be random.
This whole exercise was also supposed to be about making the story come together with the most banal ideas imaginable, if that’s what worked. But they’re not going to work anymore, and that’s infuriating. I’ve ruined my own fun. I want this story finished right now, but I’ve made that an impossible task.
I guess I’ll just have to sleep on it. It would be a wonderful way to end the year, finishing this rather ambitious project of mine. A sense of closure and all that. But I do want to get it right. Maybe I’ve lost sight of my original goals with this experiment, which I’ve referred to as being little more than a writing exercise, but maybe that’s okay.
Or maybe I just NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO shut up sleep.