18/10/2018: revision notes
That is what I’m “supposed” to be doing, after all. Making revision notes. On this stupid, unreadable, tone-dissonant, creatively bankrupt, sexist …
It’s a perfect first draft.
I am being haunted by my own writing ethic. “First drafts are meant to be awful, that’s what makes the revision process work.” Great advice. I stand by it.
It’s just that when your first draft is 180k words worth of incoherent over-rationalisation connected by chunks of filler, what are you mean to even do with that?
Well, what I’ve been doing is making snarky revision notes. I complain and criticise and mock and every now and then note a potentially good idea with page number included, and only now do I realise that, no matter how bad this manuscript is, my notes are the problem with the revision. My notes are bad. I am taking bad notes, and I have been taking bad notes the entire time I’ve been trying to re-read this … I don’t even have slurs emphatic enough for my manuscript. I hate it.
But I’m not making things any easier for myself by taking shitty notes, so it’s time for me to just stop, take stock, and come up with a better approach. Because I want this story to work.
Or fuck it maybe I don’t maybe this werewolf YA novel is my future now here’s a funny story goddamn I was on a roll with that last week, and then ended on a really weird note that stalled me and now I’m just scared that if I try to go back and write it again I’ll just wind up using it as a journal entry for all of my various repressed frustrations in life, and I don’t want that to happen and I don’t really know how to make it not happen, so I’m just stuck.
Also apparently the “bug” I thought I had for the past 3 weeks is not a bug, it’s an ulcer. Yay. Finally went to the doctor and that was his diagnosis; got a blood test – and urine test, that was a fun experience – done and am waiting for results to see what’s up besides that, and in the meantime I’m just really hoping that whatever caused it is something that I can avoid. I thought maybe I had caused it by stressing about the marae weekend for Youthline, but apparently stress doesn’t cause ulcers, it just makes them worse. That puts a dampener in my plans to catastrophise about how my anxiety has now taken to manifest in physical symptoms beyond just the usual tension and panic. Oh well, I’m sure I’ll find another opportunity soon.
If this book is going to ever get written as something that doesn’t disgust me, I need to start as I intend to finish: seriously. These notes are not serious, and therefore they are not really helpful. I think I need to revise my revision notes.
Or, like, take a hint and move on to something else.
Crazy talk, I know.
Weekly Total: These are Not Droids you are Looking For (1018)
It’s fine. I’ve had a bit of a turbulent week. Not as in upsetting, just as in it’s thrown me off-balance from my usual … maybe “balance” isn’t the right word. Routine, there we go. Seeing the doctor like a proper adult, after some gentle prompting from mum and a friend, was the correct thing to do, and it’s also completely trashed my momentum with regard to all things creative. And that’s fine. That’s how it is sometimes. I can write off a week of writing. Or not-writing, in this case. Actually that’s a good point: better to write off a week of no writing than a week full of writing that was all for nothing.
Though I do think that all writing serves some purpose, even if it’s just to bring you to the realisation that you’re taking X writing project in a direction that isn’t working out. I’m really torn at the moment, too, in terms of Mark and Jessie as my “main project”, because the more I read it, the more I’m convinced that reading it isn’t doing me any good whatsoever, and that’s upsetting, because I was relying on this re-read to re-ignite the spark of passion that I had for this story and instead it’s killed it dead. I got some good insights about it and ideas that could take it in a better direction …
But at the end of the day, I think I actually just don’t know what this story is about, why it matters, what’s important enough about it to make it worth writing, and I don’t want to admit that. And as long as I keep reading it, I don’t have to admit it, because I’m Doing It by reading it as Part Of The Revision Process.
I fucking loved this story. I loved it, I wrote it, and then I went to university and didn’t have the time, focus, or energy to continue working on it while I still loved it, to make it work in all the ways it needed to, and god fucking damn it I don’t want to have lost this opportunity. But I think I have. I just don’t care enough, and even if I were to take the position of “well just do it anyway because it’s the idea that you have and remember that one paragraph from the Robert McKee book you spent $50 on that got you all inspired for like 2 days are you just going to walk away from that”, the more pressing matter is that I do not have the ideas, the structure, the reason to tell this story anymore. I have ideas for scenes that happen, and I have an aesthetic, and that’s it. This should be a random series of illustrations with captions along the bottom for context of this story that will never be told in full, because it’s not a full story.
I hate this. But I think that it is where I am at.
What do I do now?