Monday, August 7, 2017

The book in your head

It's been almost two weeks since I finished the first draft of Survivors. Writing this book has been an emotional journey of ups and downs. Starting with "The background (a society in collapse) is too dark, I don't want to write a dystopia, I'm going to pull back from the depressing stuff." This was succeeded by, "[Expletive], I can't avoid the darkest scenes: the book demands them." Which in turn was followed by "OMG this book is going to be totally depressing, nobody will read it." After which I galloped to the end and suddenly felt that the book wasn't bad. Not bad at all. In fact, pretty good.

I do know that these assessments have a lot to do with my mood and pacing. There were some scenes I felt were necessary but I hated writing them, and afterwards I would be down on the book as a whole. Getting to the end of the first draft - and discovering a good line to close on - was almost as exhilarating as being shot at and missed. But I seldom feel quite as satisfied as this. Usually the joy of completion is tempered by an awareness of problems that are not fatal, but annoying, and that are baked into the structure in such a way that they can't be completely fixed by editing.

But this time, for whatever reason, I've been floating around feeling ridiculously self-satisfied for two whole weeks.

Which is not necessarily a good thing.

For one thing, it's made me hyper-critical of the fantasy novel I'm plotting, so I don't want to work on it.

For another, it's caused me to procrastinate on the first proofreading, because when I do that I'll have to accept the reality of an imperfect book rather than the glowing image in my head.

Time to bite the bullet. I'm going to proof the first draft today, and in the process I will almost certainly be reminded that the book I actually wrote is not as good as the book in my head.

It never is. That's something you have to accept. Accept and move on.


  1. You are my idol! I can't imagine going through all this writing a book!!! But you do make your readers happy! BTW, I like your new pic on your blog page header! Cool!

  2. Oh, despite my flippant attitude towards motivation, actually writing is fun - and a great anti-depressant! Editing, evaluating, proof reading... not quite so much fun, but still beats a day job.