I had a meeting with my therapist the other day where I spoke to her, at length, about how in the past year, I have lost all my confidence in my writing. If you’re wondering why, well, it’s a long story. 2011 I consider probably the worst year of my life to date. It was deceptive and devastatingly difficult. My writing, my innocent talent, suffered as a result.
Going on a year now, I have come to a complete halt with Behind the Chimera. I am inspired, but…unable to create anything. It’s some kind of twisted self-assured constipation. I told Gina that I feel towards my art, a way I never have. I feel disconnected. I know I love it, but it feels…artificial. My therapist told me something I didn’t want to hear. Something I don’t want to do. Not when I’m this close.
“Take a break. Put the whole book away. Don’t torture yourself by setting it out and staring at it, producing nothing.
Admit that you need a break from it. Put it away. Put it away.”
I was unwilling at the time. But now…no matter how close BtC is to being done…for maybe the 3rd or 4th time in its existence, I am putting it away.
I can’t say for just how long.
But I think it’s going to be a while.
I am going through so much lately, and the added pressure, the exhausting concentration that book needs, I’m unable to provide.
However, I’m not going to give up writing. I wonder if maybe this block and loss of confidence is in part because of the book I choose to work on–Behind the Chimera.
So, I’m packing away BtC tonight. I’m replacing it in the drawer where It Leads to Hell awaits. I’m going to work on this novel in the meantime. Maybe, just maybe, there’s still hope.
Just read my first book in man…a year? I dunno. Thank you, Kindle, because I probably wouldn’t have read it were it not that this damn electronic device makes reading so bloody convenient. I have to admit…Yes, I am starting to convert to totally ebooky. I mean, paperback is great. Nothing like holding the book in your hands. But man, the ease of holding an entire book with one hand laying on my back in bed!
So the (fucking incredible) book was Come Out Tonight. Yes, another Richard Laymon book.
Anyway, more importantly. So I’ve decided part of my procrastination with writing comes from how unhappy I am with the second half of the book. It is just…I mean, we go from a super dark, weird, creepy planet to mermaids and magic and cuteness? No way.
So I am no longer using Matt’s edits. I’m keeping them just in case. I’m actually just going chapter by chapter and writing notes in my notebook. Then I’m basically redoing everything so that Ian is more-or-less taking the same path as he was, except his experiences will be vastly different.
So for example. He originally ends up in Spectrum Desert. What is it? Well, in the draft back in ’05, it was just a super hot desert. Boooooriiiing. So for the 2007 revamp, I made it “cool.” Added black sand, white sand, added cliffs and sand whales and all this stuff. Stuff that for a fantasy novel would be perfect, but for a dark fantasy/horror/sci fi, it’s garbage.
So I got rid of the entire desert idea. I’m going to possibly even change the name. Now, Desert is part of the title (it’s in transition of course) because it’s going to be a city that’s deserted. Clever, I know (ha…).
I just have way too many shitty fantasy elements and I need them gone. The story needs to go darker, not lighter. My third main character in the novel comes in around this part of the book. It’s a young girl. A very tough character to use in a dark book since it’s too easy to make her overly cutesy, overly kid-like, too light-hearted. Bah. So…well, let’s just say I’m “pulling a Laymon” with her. ^_~
Sorry V…don’t take everything I hit with you too personally. Eek!
In an attempt to reintegrate myself in the writing habit and in the writing world, I forced my socially awkward, anxiety-stuffed self to revisit the Tampa Writer’s Alliance. Today was a special meeting where the face of the Gerber baby, author Ann Turner Cook, was speaking on the following:
“I strongly recommend paying a professional editor and getting the backing of an agent. Even if you don’t succeed in selling a work, this will assure it is of publishing quality. I found going with an established print-on-demand publisher works well in that you receive a professional-looking volume and don’t wind up with a garage of unsold books. I also recommend having a professional editor you can confer with in person. Prospective novelists must realize writing means a lot of re-writing, and should be willing to take suggestions for revision from their editor.”
The meeting was more about publishing and didn’t focus as much as I wished it did on the pros and cons of going the traditional publishing route. It was informative, don’t get me wrong, but a lot of what was discussed were things I was already familiar with or things I have already done. Like how the publishing world works. And I’ve already gone through the querying process and am aware of the “no-no’s” when contacting an agent. Still, it was great to hear a writer discuss it.
She was very old and didn’t get her first book published till she was about 75 in 2001, and she didn’t sound too familiar with ePublishing or anything like that. But again, I took away something from the meeting.
I also ended the night writing them a check for the membership fee, in order to reintroduce myself to the group. I intend on attending the Critique group sessions the 2nd and 4th Wednesdays of each month. If I’m going to continue procrastinating, at least I can keep my craft somewhat honed.