Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Writing when it doesn't matter.

Yesterday, I finished the book I was working on.  I sped like all hell through the final conflict and the resolution, typed up a scene I'd pictured taking an entire night in about half an hour, and closed things up with a tiny spark of hope in an otherwise downer ending.  I saved the file, closed it, and determined that no one would ever read that thing.

It's a weird thing, to finish a book and be utterly done with it.  This is the first time it's happened to me.  Most of the other books I've written, when I finished, I was utterly enthusiastic about them, all too eager to start editing and give them to friends for beta-reading.

But this book?  This hundred and three thousand words of a month-long learning experience?  No.  I'm done with it.  Utterly and completely.  I've finally proven to myself that the idea behind it, that I could apply a plot to an old slice-of-urban fantasy life series I did, will not work.  I've accepted that I captured a certain way of writing a character two years ago and further attempts feel like pale imitations.  I've come to understand that an 80-minute DDR megamix is not ideal music for writing any kind of tension.

Okay, that last one is kind of situational.  But hey, at least I learned it.

Toward the end, when I knew I was going to dump this book as soon as I finished it, I found myself in an odd state.  Writing something I knew would never exist outside my own computer felt very foreign.  I knew what I was writing didn't matter.  But I kept at it, because I knew if I didn't, I'd always wonder if it could have turned out better, if I could have saved it.  Now, I know.

I'm relieved in a lot of ways.  Writing is usually a draining experience for me, but it's not supposed to be a stressful one.  When sitting down to write becomes a chore, it's a sign something is wrong.  I never had trouble once I sat down, it was getting myself to sit down that was the problem. And I think we all know that a lack of desire to write leads to crappy writing.  So finishing that last page, writing those last few words, was a huge weight off my shoulders.

For now, I plan to relax for a week, and make the final preparations for Dragon*Con.  Then, I'm going to spend a month or so giving Skyborne another good hard thwack with the Editing Stick, since I haven't gone over it in several months.  Then, I'm going to start on one of my other two plotted books.  I expect either one of them will go better, as I've had them planned out for quite a bit longer than the thing I just wrote, and it's when I know the plot and characters intimately that I do my best work.

Soon, it will once again be time to start writing and see how it goes.  I'm already looking forward to it.

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