Saturday, July 26, 2014

your daily whine

Y'all are a real pain to write for.

First of all, there's this endless, angsty feeling kicking around in the subcockles of my duodenum that I'm just not all that good at stringing words together. Like the way I ended that first sentence with a preposition. Or the way I started that last one with an adjectival-conjunction-something-or-other, which might or might not be bad grammar (and then how I did it again with this one, because I'm incorrigible).

Second, there's the sneaking suspicion that the things I'm writing aren't really worth reading... that not only am I bad at saying things, but I'm also picking all the wrong things to say. A good part of me is cocky/confident enough to say them anyway and to believe you ought to read them, but still... I wonder.

It's less difficult on this blog, here, because these are just short one-offs that I can fire and (after a few hours of coming back and compulsively rewriting) forget.

But when I try to write for you the big things - the feature-length screenplays and the novels and so on, well, that's where it gets super-painful.

Take my current project. 

For the past three days, I have been uber-editing my first novel, FOUNDER. Founder tells the story of a genius teenager who hijacks an untested time machine into a future where his is the most hated name in history. It started out as a screenplay (which is currently a quarterfinalist in the Page International Screenwriting Awards thingy), and was inspired by the 1937 Spencer Tracy movie, CAPTAINS COURAGEOUS.

Now, you and I both know that nobody's gonna make a mid-to-high budget film ($50-100 million) from a script written by an unknown dude like me; so last year, I decided that the best thing to do would be to sit down and novelize the script.

That was painful because it was writing and I hate writing.* Writing, as I referenced in my recent post "Lessons in Lovemaking from the War of Art," is war. And no sane person goes happily off to war.

Now I'm uber-editing, though, which is this thing I do where I go through the novel (or screenplay, or whatever) page by page, and if I find anything at all that I need to change, then I force myself to go back over that same page from the start.

I've already rewritten the novel and edited it multiple times, but now I'm getting microscopic - looking for problems in syntax, flow... even for something as stupid as a possibly-confusing comma placement. This means that I may end up reading over the same, double-spaced page as many as fifteen times in a row before I'm happy with it. Fifteen times! One page! Out of two hundred and fifty!

It's insane, and it hurts my brains. 

My brains do not like finding problems. My brains do not like stretching, or trying new things. What my brains want is for it to be easy, and for me to be satisfied with the status quo. My brains want it to be enough to get the basic idea across. They do not want to obsess about the flow and rhythm of the text, and the way each and every word will be read and received. They do not care about the elusive and impossible goal of literary perfection.

Here I am, though, still editing. Still writing.

Why?

I have no idea. I've already been through this years-long process once before with my short story collection, and that whole experience has netted me maybe about four hundred dollars... so it's definitely not for the money.

The only reason I can think of is that I must really, really love you. A lot. I love it when you enjoy something I wrote. Love, love, love it. Your reading-pleasure is where I find my writing-pleasure. Metaphorically speaking, that is.

Anyway.

My point, if there is one beyond just having myself a good winge-fest, is that I'm going to be putting out for you (so to speak) a new novel in the not-so-distant future, and you'd darn well better pony up and get yourself a copy when I do.

Because I love you.

Even if I hate writing.

- - -

* As Dorothy Parker famously said, "I hate writing, I love having written" ...which isn't entirely true for me, since what I hate is not so much the act of writing, but rather the act of sitting down to write. It's hard and painful, sure, but mostly just at the beginning of each session, when I'm still trying to convince myself that I'm not completely insane for the attempt. After the mojo starts flowing, it's a fairly tolerable way to spend a few hours.

- - -

Whazzat? You say you really liked this blog post and it changed your life forever and ever, amen? Well then, I sure would appreciate it if you'd share it on your social internets.

Or maybe support my writing habit with one of the options at the top of the sidebar to the right. Like, by grabbing a copy of my short story collection. Or picking an option and paying for a custom blog post. Cheerios, Josh. -->

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