And some days the Novel eats you.
Writing the First Novel, DOGS, was easy. It was exhausting, but it was easy. Editing it has been a slow uphill slog. I blamed this, for the better part of a year, on two things. The first was that I am busy writing a Second and Better kind of Novel, for lack of a better title we’ll call it SINNER.
The second reason is that when I wrote DOGS I pounded out its ridiculous mass of words in just over 2 months. So it is a sloppy, messy manuscript with armfuls of tense problems, punctuation fuckups, and even some horrible pieces of writing- I was purging the story from myself, not crafting something to be proud of.
Now, a year and some change later, my dear friend CP insists that DOGS actually is something to be proud of; he feels it is an above-average mass market paperback sci-fi shooter… and that makes me happy, that I have a fan. And not just in a “aw, he’s yer buddy, of course he gives good feedback” kinda way, but in that he is actually a Fan of the Story and the Writing, not just of Me… you know what I mean?
Anyways, someday I hope to finish editing DOGS and throw together a synopsis and a logline and prepare to paper the bathroom with rejection slips or something.
Then there is SINNER. I finished the first draft of SINNER on February 6th of 2009. Not that long ago! Knowing full well that the SINNER’s story is barely even begun, I took a brief writing vacation (as in I didn’t write) and then dove into SINNER 2- the tales of adventure just kept bubbling along, why not fill some pages with them? The fact of the matter is, I could conceivably write about the world of SINNER and it’s inhabitants for the rest of my life. What is more, I think it’s actually a good book. I feel like I’ve tapped into something special with SINNER and it feels like a good something, something a little different- eh, maybe not, I don’t really know what is out there to compare it too- but something with a unique voice, definitely.
Regardless, this book too, needs to be edited. And therein lays the rub, the pain, and maybe even the source of this semi-crippling malaise that has been looming over me for the past I don’t know how long…
I hate editing. I just have the hardest damn time doing it! I resent all those writers who complain about the Writing but seem to adore the Editing, the “I love to have written,” people. WTF, y’all? It drives me nuts. I’m staring at the story that has been writ large, and I’m almost incapable of pulling myself OUT of the story to actually edit it!
It is very hard to get into the right mind space to edit a manuscript on a semi-busy loading dock. It is even harder in a hectic home. These are the two places I have in my life. I feel trapped by my own productivity or the lack thereof in this particular case. I resent my Words: they keep coming; the SINNERverse keeps expanding in my head. SINNER 2 is maybe a quarter done- if SINNER 2 will be approximately the same word count as SINNER 1. And the “Notes” file I have for the overarching series isn’t exactly small either.
Am I alienating you, dear fellow writers, by bitching about my productivity? If so, I am really sorry. But the fact of the matter is, I appear to be the literary equivalent of an untrained militia-man: I’m all Spray and Pray. I feel like I just empty the full clip on fully-automatic and hope a few rounds strike home, rather than someone who carefully crafts each sentence and paragraph; the literary equivalent of a veteran sharpshooter.
So maybe I’m just a chronic underachiever. If I never edit these manuscripts, I’ll never have to write synopses and send out query letters and deal with rejection or agent-hunting or… that is just fucking great, I can hide behind my hatred/fear of editing and fail by lack of trying.
Whatever it is, it’s fucking frustrating.