Friday, October 30, 2015
It’s not writer’s block. Call it writer’s ennui. I was roaring along on my current book, Dope, a sequel to Thirst, when all of a sudden I … stopped. I’m on page 308. Sixty-six-thousand words have flowed almost effortlessly over the past few months, and then the tap shut off. I can’t remember this happening before.
And so I immediately shift from Writer’s Ennui to Writer’s Paranoia. Maybe this is my subconscious telling me the book stinks and I should drop it and start writing about something else—anything else. But it doesn’t stink; actually, it’s pretty good and the beta readers who’ve seen it like it. The characters created in Thirst are alive and well and responsive and their transition to Dope has been easy. I’ve gotten to know them all intimately and have discovered sources of humor there that weren’t there before. The new characters are sort of neat and colorful, too. There’s a set of triplets who keep me on my toes, and a wise guy kid from the slums who’s been really perplexing.
The plot is pretty good, too, and I’m satisfied that the resolution will work. I’ll have to massage it, and I anticipate a few sleepless nights working out the details, but all in all this should be a pretty readable book, particularly since I’m not trying for deathless prose here, simply mindless winter entertainment.
I’ve written isolated and independent scenes, which I will stitch together in time. Such writing is always fun. I go into a separate universe and, two or three hours later, find that I’ve pounded out a bunch of pages and that it’s mostly pretty good stuff. The boring part is making sure the transitions work as well as the scene they lead to or from. Transitions, I’ve found, are a challenge a lot of writers fail to meet adequately. I’ve read so many book and short stories that hop from scene to scene and leave me confused…
Part of the difficulty right now is that the characters have grown into their own personalities and no longer really answer to me. I can move them about, have them mouths words and sentences, but they won’t always do what I want them to. Actually, that’s a plus and it means I’ve done my job creating them. They have their own voices and their own legs and they can tell me to go to hell, nicely of course, but it can be troublesome. Occasionally, it’s as if I’m ordering my cat to do stuff; I tell character A or B what I want and more often than not he or she will stare, look around, and not do it.
I can partly blame the ennui on the season. It’s fall; the holidays are starting and I’m allergic to them. I feel as if the best I can do is weather Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s, then Valentine’s and my birthday. I wish I could find the gayety most people feel on those days, but what I get is, well, depressed. I don’t know why I have such a strong reaction to the fall and winter celebrations; I just do. And then it’s spring and things change.
Time to hunker down. My assignment for the day is to finish this blog and post it, then write a minimum of 1000 words.
And so now I’ve finished the blog.