Sunday, February 04, 2007

Worst Blog Post in History...

Kathie Shoop

Brace yourself, because this will be it. The worst post ever. I foraged around my life for the past few days, searching for something cute to blog about, but came up empty.

So, I'm left to present what's foremost on my writing mind--my WIP. I'm totally reworking a novel I started last year but abandoned when I began the rewrites for the novel that didn't sell.

But as I'm writing, from scratch, I find I'm not in love with the story as I seemed to have been with all previous novels. I've asked around a bit and gotten mixed responses: Some people think it's fine not to have every sentence invoke emotion in the writer. Others think I should let it go and move onto something else.

My trusty readers like the story and don't sense my disconnectedness in the novel.

I think I'll end up finishing it--I can have the first draft (of the new version) done in six weeks. I don't want to start leaving a trail of writing remnants behind me. I'm thinking this is when writing moves from purely an artistic phase to one of work--the job I want to do. Overall, the process is exactly what I want to be engaged in, it's just this one feels a bit different and I'm simply unsure of how to view it.

What do you guys think? Have you gone through this?

BTW, insomnia got me tonight and if anyone needs a late night flick, try "In the Bedroom" (Sissy Spacek, Marisa Tomei) on IFC and PS (Laura Linney) on Encore.

Sorry for the glum post...


Gina said...

Kathie -
Maybe it's time to put the WIP aside for awhile - a few days, a week, maybe more. Sometimes it's hard to love a story from the inside. You may need some distance. Put it aside until the story starts nagging at you, demanding to be worked on. Then, when you come back, you'll probably be surprised to find how good it really is.
As for the insomnia, I find it helps to get into a warm, cozy bed and make up really really boring stories until I bore myself to sleep. My favorite involves a group of medieval-era people traveling across a steppe in a blizzard and stopping to set up camp, figuring out how to arrange the animals and packs and tents in a way to block the icy wind and keep warm. Believe me, it works.

Annette said...

When I started HORSE OF A DIFFERENT KILLER, I can honestly say I was not in love with it either. I was in love with the previous manuscript...the really crappy one that is now in a drawer never to see the light of day again. But I kept plugging along and as I gradually got to know the new cast of characters, I did fall in love with them and the story. Sometimes it just takes a little time.

On the other hand, Gina has a good idea, too. Maybe a little time away from it would do you good. Maybe you could work on a short story, just so you can say you're writing SOMETHING.

Can't help you guys with the insomnia. Sorry. Staying awake is more my problem.

Tory said...

I loved, "In the bedroom." Really great flick! But too creepy for something I'd watch at 3 a.m.

It's funny, I've had this same discussion in several versions with several different people this week. I've taken time off from my current WIP while I "settle in" to my new job. I'm not really settled in yet, but the end is in sight, and as I do I find more energy to return to the WIP.

I don't think there's any easy answers, here. I think everyone's process is a little different. But I do think some of our works of art are more beloved and some are more liked or tolerated. And I think a writer's world needs to include a mix, if you're a professional and not an amateur.

kathie said...

Oh, my gosh, Gina, that's hilarious--the stories you make up, like an elaborate form of counting sheep, I guess! Great advice to let the story come begging back to me. That definately happens when I reach my planned "vacations" from writing. I think I'm afraid to take an unplanned break for fear I'll decide I like being a non-writer more than a writer. I know that's wrong, because the longest I've quit writing is 1/2 a day, but I don't want to get into bad habits. Who knows. Thanks though.

I'm wondering if that's part of writing, not being so in love with one's work. It's not like the work I've adored has sold yet...I clearly haven't met the perfect formula for my process. But it's good to hear your experience with Horse of a Different Killer. I suppose the experience will be different for everyone.

wonderful thoughts. Nagging at me is what you've said--that writing isn't always going to feel magical. I should prob. take it as a sign I'm progressing as a writer. Thanks to all three of you for great thoughts. I appreciate it so much.

Joyce said...

Sometimes the job of writing gets in the way of the fun of it. When I wrote Lost Summer, I had the luxury of taking my time with it. There was no pressing need to finish it within a certain length of time. I could immerse myself in my characters problems and lives.

Now that I actually have an agent, I feel like I have to get the second book finished in a reasonable amount of time. I love the story, but it's not quite as much fun when you have a deadline, even when it's a self-imposed one.

kathie said...

Thanks Joyce,
I don't mind a deadline--I always have a self imposed one and when I had to do stuff for my agent, I preferred the pressure. That's why I'll probablly set the six week deadline and just plow ahead on this one. Even if it turns out not be my favorite, I think technically speaking it's as good or even better than the ones I was in love with. The idea that I wasn't as enthusiastic just startled me. Thanks so much for all the advice. It really helped in sorting through my plan.

Nancy said...

What is it that you don't like? How can you fix it? What are you enjoying in your own life right now that you can instill in the book to make it more enjoyable? What's your idea of good entertainment? What story elements would make yours more entertaining now? Could the story benefit by ditching some less than exciting characters? (I know my current book has at least 2 boring characters. But I'm still writing it because it's easier to cut out a boring character and drop a more quirky/fun/dynamic character into scenes that already exist ... as soon as a better character occurs to me!

I know my current book is bad. But waiting for it to improve itself isn't going to happen. So I have to power through it. But then, I know I don't get my paycheck until the damn thing is finished, so I gotta keep plunging forward.

I also have a long list of stuff I do when I need ideas. One: Read a magazine you wouldn't ordinarily pick up. Look for fresh ideas.