Oh, you gotta love the rollercoaster ride that is being a writer who overthinks (which begs the question of if there is any writer who doesn’t struggle with overthinking and questioning their work).
Let me tell you a story.
Peruse through this blog the past, eh, year or so, and you’ll find a plethora of posts discussing my writing rut and my struggle with it. You’ll also find a few posts discuss my revelation and decision to scrap a novel previously titled THE RESISTANCE and start over from square one.
Last week, I started working on a rough outline, writing out the history of the events that happened before the story I wanted to tell and the basic plot, mapping out the beats I wanted to happen in each chapter. This week, I began fleshing out a few plots holes that still remained and did a little more research, even putting a few books on hold at the library that might make me a bit more knowledgeable over some of the topics I wanted to include. Though I struggled last night to start working on a personality sketch of my main character, I was excited. I was sticking to the routine I’d made for myself and this story seemed to be forming in front of my eyes. I was getting excited once more, that feeling I’d missed for so long during that rut.
So, I decided to tell my man about the plot. I didn’t do the best job describing it, but I pushed through.
And then he said, “You know I really like you, but–”
And my heart dropped.
In the famous words of the brilliant writer Varric Tethras: “Well, shit.”
Don’t get me wrong, I wanted his honest opinion. And it means the world to me that he willingly gave it and didn’t beat around the bush about it, yet was also sweet. It could have been worse. Basically, he said he felt like I was cramming too many elements from sci-fi into one novel and I should try and space it out more, so readers don’t feel overwhelmed and I take the proper time to actually flesh out every aspect and detail. That’s not a bad suggestion, not at all. I’m still wracking my brain about how to exactly do that, plot and story wise, but it definitely could have been worse feedback.
Yet it still didn’t stop me from feeling a little…defeated, in a sense. Here I am, finally taking the steps to get back into the writing game, and I’m already stumbling. Not to mention I just sent ARTEMIS out for (hopefully) it’s last round of beta edits before I can go query, so all around, I’m feeling a little nervous and unconfident about my strength as a writer, especially since it feels like I’ve been out of the game for so long. Plus, considering these ideas were meant to be improvements on a story that was already lacking in every respect and yet they are still lacking…
Yeah, I woke up this morning and just felt, disappointed, in myself. As I struggled to get a few more hours of sleep, my brain wouldn’t turn off, thinking about this story. As I ran, I struggled to figure out how to tell the story I wanted to tell and contemplated–just for a moment–giving up on this story entirely. Obviously it was way too out of my league to attempt to even write. Obviously it’s too bleak, too depressing, too intricate, too alien, for be worth trying. Obviously–
Obviously, I just needed to have mini pity party for myself. Now, I need to shove all those doubts into a place I immediately forget about and then get back to work.
Yeah, this story I’m trying to write isn’t the easiest. It’s complicated, it’s out of my usual realm, it’s a tragedy and it isn’t going to be everyone’s cup of tea. And I have some decisions to make. More outlining to do. Plus, I have to write the entire thing. Then rewrite it. Draft after draft after draft, which, personally, I think is when the core part of the story is actually discovered and truly written (during the rewrites), so even if I don’t follow my man’s advice and decide to write it the way it’s outlined now–or if I follow it and break this story into multiple books–I know it’s going to change during the editing process. It’s going to constantly evolve and grow and dare I believe it, improve.
But it’s never going to have that chance if I don’t write it because I’m feeling fragile at the moment and have, in a sense, lost my confidence as a writer.
So, if you don’t mind, I have some more outlining and brainstorming to do.