Thursday, February 7, 2013

Rough Seas

Status update:  somewhere between a third and a half done and advancing with great vigor. Coffee supplies still strong.

I was damn burned out after the Polov story. I think it turned out well, but I wasn't super enthusiastic about jumping into the next one. Okay, I really wanted to just take a couple of days off from work and then spend them sleeping and watching TV. The weekend was just that busy and my brain felt kinda fried from all the writing I did in between other obligations.

So, when Tuesday morning rolled around, I was somewhat less than enthusiastic about starting another one, to say the least.

Remember what I said about persistence? I love this story I'm writing now. It's one of those stories that has you grinning like an idiot while you write it. I might even write other ones in this setting, it's so much fun.

Anyway. I don't believe in writer's block. I think what most people call writer's block comes from only a few sources: procrastination or not enough preparation/research. Either it's basic laziness keeping me from putting words down on paper or I haven't thought something through enough or I'm lacking enough information/detail about what I'm writing.

99% of the time if the words aren't flowing, it's one of those things or a variation thereof. I'm not afraid of it because it's just another signpost of things I need to do. More preparation, maybe I'm not comfortable at some level with where a story's going and my subconscious is telling me something about my writing that my conscious mind isn't prepared to hear. Maybe I need to take a nap, or read something for a few minutes to clear my palette. Sometimes I just need to kick my ass into gear or set aside more time to work something through. It's usually just the preparation, though. It's a sign I should step back and just jot down more outline, or free associate a list of cool things the story could include.

People tend to think of ideas being a limited, finite thing. Their mind balks for a bit, they come up with nothing but air and they think the well's gone dry. They panic. But creativity doesn't really work like that. It's work just like anything else. Most of my stuff starts out as the barest skeleton with very little in it and then I go back and layer in the cool stuff. My current story started out as "hey, I want to do a diesel-punk thing." Then I thought about Lester Dent's story-writing formula and how he used the phrase "getting it in the neck" a lot. That was it. Slim pickings, but I put the work into brainstorming a huge pile of phrases and details, picked out the ones that looked the most interesting and wound up with something cool.

So, next update: bike couriers, zeppelins, robots and that weird Chinese shit.

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