Wednesday, December 2, 2015
IWSG: A Worthwhile Madness
I've had a remarkably rough past few weeks.
The query process is, well and truly, not for the faint of heart. There's a kind of joyous and dreadful anticipation that comes now whenever I open my e-mail. Will what I'm hoping for happen? Was today the day that someone somewhere across the country opened their e-mail and read my words and decided they might want to take a chance on me? Has my time finally come?
As yet, no. Rejections ring eternal, it seems, when there's a ringing at all - there's an interesting kind of melancholy that comes with noting down that the silence from an agent has stretched on long enough that it's become a rejection - and I'm seeing new variations on the same words now. They try to be supportive and helpful even as they say, no, I don't see it. What you're saying doesn't reach me. I'm not the one to help carry your dream. But please do keep trying.
As though I could do anything else.
On the creative front, things go less steadily than usual, which can be saying quite a lot when I'm in the plotting phase. One set of ideas seems dead-set on not working together, and remains a collection of nothing but images and moments, without anything that feels right to tie them together. If there's a way to feel what a story and a world should be but not have anything you write for it work toward that end, I've found it.
Another would-be plot seems to be fighting with itself every step of the way, trying to turn sideways into an idea I had long ago that makes the inspiration that started me back on this story impossible to fit into the story itself, and alternately taunting me with either interesting characters or fascinating settings that don't suit each other and don't seem to fit into the story together. There's so much want there. It seems like this could be a good two-thirds of everything I'd love to write if I could only figure out what and how it's all supposed to be, but I can't get a hold of that no matter what I try.
It's said the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results, and weeks like these are when it hits me, we writers are all crazy. It's a worthwhile and useful kind of madness, this throwing ideas at the page again and again to see what sticks and what falls away and what splatters together to blend into something greater than its parts.
But we keep going, because when it works, it's magic.
I spent too much of this past Monday when I should have been working taking down notes for a story that's dwelled at the back of my head for years, as I realized one character's supposed fate was intended for another, and so much fell into place and I had to make sure I scribbled it down before I forgot it. When I returned home, I hacked away at the half-a-plot I thought I had, and found that everything worked together as though it had always been that way, and with one simple change, I'd found the story.
There's still so much to do. There's always so much to do. I feel like I've done the magic, and now comes the practice, the preparation, the gathering of materials and training of lovely assistants and learning how to play for the crowd that may, in fact, never arrive. Odds are good that there will never be a crowd - odds are incredibly good that this will turn out to be another story that few people, if any, ever read.
But there is nothing else in the world I want to do more than tell these stories, and I'll keep going because there's always the chance that one will work for more than just me and a few friends, and someone out there will say yes, I want to help you reach the world.