I’m feeling rather dejected this morning. I only have one scene left to rough out in this very very rough draft of HiS, which I should be excited about, right?
I’m not particularly. I don’t feel remotely like celebrating. Because it doesn’t feel in any way done to me. All I can do as I look at this manuscript is not think, yay, I came up with a plot from beginning to end and put it on paper, but instead Holy crap these characters are flat and they don’t change enough. Something is missing. It’s a great irony to me that characterization (as in successfully showing character arcs) is a problem for me. You’d think being in psychology, I’d be good at it. Possibly it’s because as a former therapist, I’m very aware of the sad truth that in real life most people DON’T change and grow–not as they should. As a species we’re very resistant to change. Pot sent me a quote, that I thought was great:
“I did not start by trying to describe the folks next door—but by inventing people who did things the folks next door would never do. I could summon no interest or enthusiasm for “people as they are”—when I had in my mind a blinding vision of people as they could be.” -Ayn Rand
So, of course fiction isn’t real life and I need to figure this out because for better or worse a problem and it’s weakening my book in a big way.
In the context of doing some broad stroke plotting for my next project, I got an electric cattle prod in the ass from my CP in one of those very necessary but painful conversations about “hey this is still a big weakness for you and we should nip this in the bud at the planning stages”. The time for ego stroking and “hey you’ve really improved on X, Y, Z with this project” is past, and now I’m left looking at a book that is technically structurally sound but nowhere near where it needs to be. God help me when she reads a full draft instead of just hearing me talk about it.
I guess I’m having one of those days where despite the fact that I’ve learned a whole lot about craft and what makes a story work, I still have so much left to learn. I feel a little like Sisyphus, I guess. Like even though I’ve done all this work and pushed up the mountain, I got to a ridge and suddenly realized I have this huge long journey left to go. And part of me just wants to sit down and bawl. And then I remember my mother telling me that this is not a reasonable way to make a living, and I get pissed off, put my shoulder to that boulder and start pushing again. I am not a quitter. I have never quit anything in my life other than ballet in the 3rd grade (it was for the best for all involved, I promise), and I’m certainly not going to stop now on something that is this important to me.
But maybe for today I can be allowed a pity party.