Thursday, April 20, 2017

Coming to You Live From Chapter 18

I hate this chapter.

But only because I want it to be so perfect that it becomes my favorite piece of anything I've ever written.

Unrealistic expectations of my work that are shattered as soon as I try to actually craft something amazing are not an uncommon component of my writing process. But this chapter tends to hurt in a very acute way. I can see how far I'm trying to reach and how little I'm accomplishing.

A lot has changed from the first draft of this chapter. I know that partially because I have the first draft printed and propped up in front of me and also because I've spent the last half of the year rewriting the whole thing. The essential beats are still there and the characters are still roughly the same. But I tried to add more depth (and probably fattened up the story--don't ask me about a word count cuz I'm too scared to combine the chapters and find out) and more details. Now I'm in the same place I was roughly three years ago--struggling with the one scene that's supposed to deeply affect the main character and change the course of the story. It feels like the point of a book where a reader could easily go, "soon as that chapter hit, the book lost me."

I wish it got easier with more revisions. Or that I found enough of a reason to believe I've steered this in the right direction.

But I won't know until I get the book to someone else. Someone with an impartial view who'll read it and tell me, "this does/doesn't work."

And that's gonna suck, but it'll probably be freeing. I've been sensitive to criticism before, but I'm starting to think I'd rather take that than wallow in the confusion brought about by self-doubt.

So let's see if I can get this chapter done today. I'm running on Coke Zero and shrimp tempura sushi and Nine Inch Nails' The Fragile album. That's gotta help.

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"Science and science fiction have done a kind of dance over the last century... The scientists make a finding. It inspires science fiction writers to write about it, and a host of young people read the science fiction and are excited, and inspired to become scientists...which they do, which then feeds again into another generation of science fiction and science..."
- Carl Sagan, in his message to future explorers of Mars.