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Saturday, February 25, 2006
So. Dammit. Went to Jenny Crusie and Bob Mayer's class yesterday on Writing Action: Sex and Fight Scenes. Great class, very informative. Boils down to keep only what's necessary, make every scene count, and make them all do double duty -- not just what the scene does, but make it move character forward, move plot forward or both.

They also talked about the character's journey (she's a big Vogler fan -- I couldn't have been more bored by that book). I figured to apply this to my own work and the block I seem to have hit. I needed to get Simon and Tessa from point A to point B, but the travel time was killing me. How could I maintain tension on this journey to save her brother from killing himself? Then they said something that knocked me flat. The journey's the thing. Literally, figuratively, metaphorically -- the journey's the thing.

Well DUH!

I boggle at my own thickheadedness.

They're absolutely right. But it gives me a much bigger problem now. I've been balking at writing that scene. I knew there was something wrong with it. The trouble is that it's a systemic issue. Everything has to change to support a journey -- a literal journey -- of that magnitude. So ... so ... everything has to change.

Being a pantser sucks rocks sometimes.

I am wicked discouraged.

I don't want to start over. I want to quit. I really do. I hate this part. Where it turns out that for starting in the wrong place, I have to scrap 95% of my work and do it all again. It feels very much like this whole writing gig is a colossal waste of time. It doesn't matter that when I get the words down, I do it fairly well. I can't seem to get the whole story out. And if I can't finish, then why start?

I'm not even moping. I'm not in a bad mood and I'm not hormonal. I'm looking at this with a completely clear head. This is a HUGE waste of time. There must be something else I can do with better results.
2/25/2006 06:18:00 AM : : Sela Carsen : : 10 Comments


Aw, Sela...
Perhaps putting it aside for awhile will help jell things.
Don't give up.

By Blogger Bernita, at 7:36 AM  

Imagine one of your kids felt that way about something they were genuinely talented in. What would you say to them?

Personally, I think you should zip it and just write. We all feel like this sometimes. It's part of being a writer. And a big part of the learning process. I'm sure I've thrown away more words than I've written but the more I write, the less I tend to do that.

You know that book you just reviewed? Could you have written that better? Told the story in a way that didn't have holes?

You're not quitting. We won't let you. Now go write.

By Blogger Kristen Painter, at 9:18 AM  

Time spent writing is NEVER wasted. You always learn something, whether you know it at the time or not.

Now write, you. You're talented. Go and do it.

By Blogger Julie, at 12:11 PM  

Oh, Sela, I am right there with you. Put it aside for awhile. You'll figure it out.

By Blogger MaryF, at 12:46 PM  

Sela, I know EXACTLY how you feel.
I frequently go on a tear about the frustration myself.

And, as a wise person once said..."if you CAN quit writing--DO."

But I'll wager you can't. ;-)

And even if you THINK you can, we won't let you. So there.

By Anonymous raine, at 2:13 PM  

I can relate. Being a total panster myself, my characters will sometimes do stuff that changes the direction of my plot and makes the beginning of the story need a lot of work. Even the villian changed in my story.
I love the comment "...if you can stop writing...DO". I couldn't stop now. My characters would drive me crazy. Do they have pills for that?
Sending good thoughts your way.

By Blogger Jen, at 2:26 PM  

I am right there with you. I pantsed my way through 150 pages and I went off on the wrong track. Now I have to delete and rewrite all of them.

That said, I learned a valuable lesson. Although I love pantsing, I need to firm up my structure better. I can give myself freedom, as long as I color between the lines. Good luck fixing!

By Anonymous Michelle, at 3:38 PM  

I've went through this same thing. Thrice. Trying to tell the same story in the most interesting and readable way possible. Each time I'd get 60,000 words in and go back to the beginning for a re-read...realise it was crap and start over. It's still hard. It's still discouraging sometimes. But I'm nearly finished and I know this is it. I've finally 'got it'. The rewrites were worth it. I'm 'just about happy' and just about done.

By Blogger Buffy, at 3:40 PM  

Did the same thing on my current project, wrote it in the wrong perspective and, oh, look, it doesn't work after 70K+ words. Damn! But that's the writing process and, how you learn. It's not always fun, it's not always easy, but if you stick with it, it can be rewarding and OMG I sound like my old school teacher. Sorry. Ignore me.

By Anonymous alexandra, at 9:19 PM  

Zip it and write - haha. Great advice; but it did make me giggle. Yeah, I'm funny like that.

I've loved following Jenny and Bob's joint blog; I totally don't get how she writes though. It SO works for her. I'd go nuts. I'd rather re-write a scene because I found out something new, or found out something didn't work, than sit around just thinking about my people for weeks and weeks.

But - I love her books! Guess you just have to find what works for YOU and not try to make yourself use someone elses methods.

Oh yeah. And zip it, and write ;)

By Blogger Karen, at 9:58 PM  

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