What a field day for the heat
A thousand people in the street
Singing songs and carrying signs
Mostly saying, "hooray for our side"

Thursday, March 22, 2012

How can it be Spring when I feel so sprung already?

I think I've killed myself by learning too much about story. Some stories I like to write are just an interesting story, but there's very little conflict. But now I'm looking at the stories from the viewpoint of "who wants what/which desires conflict/how does this shape the story" and things are falling down. Sigh. Sometimes I think the desires of the characters aren't open enough and so the story fails because the reader doesn't understand the desires.

And I think that's part of why I'm stuck spinning my wheels in the outlines. You know, other than the ZOMG busy, busy, busy schedule. Another thing that keeps me in the bullpen warming up instead of pitching the game is the day thing. I literally feel blowout by the time I get home. And while I used to feel good about that, the "giving it my all" to the job, it's now more the feeling of being blowout like a flat tire. And now is the added flavor of strife between divisions of which I get to be a pawn in the game. That'll pretty much knock the wind out of my sails (not to mention cue the stress eating behaviors).

On top of all that I'm beginning to feel my subconscious doesn't want to the write the book my consciousness wants to write. It might be early writing jitters (would be better if I was actually, you know, writing), but when I think about other books I've started ideas for, they feel fresher and "more inviting." They feel "more right."

You can probably chalk this all up to, "Writer feeling the jitters, again. Writer complaining about how hard it is (find time/find words/get enthused) to write, again." But would it be an actual creative process if we didn't complain about it?


Eric said...

I think I'm sort of sharing your pain.

I'm particularly upset at myself right now, writing wise, because of a number I've done on myself: I recently re-read Stephen King's Night Shift and was enthused to rediscover, Hey! Stories can just be short, brutal, balls-out fun and don't have to make a lot of sense if the story clicks! And that was good, but then I started reading Harlan Ellison's Dangerous Visions for the first time (though I've run into some of the stories before over the years, e.g. PKD's "Faith Of Our Fathers" and Sturgeon's "If All Men Were Brothers, Would You Let One Marry Your Sister?"), and am devastated by my lack of "ambition"--the stories in DV being full of "ambition", even pretty lousy ones like Lester del Rey's "Evensong". So now I'm torn between wondering if I should aim higher (even though I kinda don't want to and am not sure if I can) or if I want to aim squarely low but try to max out everybody's (mine, the putative readers') good times. Which aren't necessarily mutually exclusive, we all know, but then there are plenty of stories in DV, for instance, that are quite good but not really "enjoyable"; e.g. Robert Silverberg's "Flies" is seriously fucking brilliant but I don't know if it's a story I'd ever recommend to anyone who isn't a writer.

Do we come back, yet again, to Mann's line, "A writer is a person for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people"?

Steve Buchheit said...

Eric, I loved Night Shift. My brother thought I was weird because I would laugh at the funny parts. I haven't read Dangerous Visions, but yeah I hear it's very ambitious.

Tonight I'm dealing with the rejections coming in. And today was exceptionally stressful at work and at class.

And, I'm feeling that line. I'm getting stuck in the "once the centipede thought about how it walks, it couldn't" conundrum.