Thursday, December 8, 2011

Pithy Insights on How Writing Novel #2 is Working Out. Maybe.

(Just to give you some idea before you plunge in: This post used to be called “What if my next novel sucks?” until I had the blinding insight that this might be a poor way to present myself.)

In my first blog entry, I promised pithy insights about how writing novel #2 was working out.

I lied.

There is nothing pithy about this. There is nothing short and sweet. Except for all the fragments, which, while they certainly aren’t long, I would consider more truncated than short.

I’m not athletic, but metaphorically speaking, I think I’m in the part of the marathon where you develop tunnel vision, all you want in life is to finish and finish well, but before your endorphins kick in and propel you across the finish line. The part of the marathon where you really need all those motivational bottles of water (or, in my case, chocolate cupcakes) that are thrust at you from the sidelines (or, in my case, self-procured from the Viktor Benesh bakery counter).

This is not bitching. I am completely overjoyed to be doing this, I love doing this, this is what I always wanted to be doing and I think I appreciate it even more because it took me a very long time to get here. But it's hard.

Even though I sometimes see snippets of scenes in my head, even though I see the rooms and the houses and where in the parking lot the car parks and the posture of all the characters.

Even though I feel the atmosphere of the night of this book’s cataclysmic disaster (It would appear that everything I write has a cataclysmic disaster in there somewhere.), how foggy it was and how it started to rain and how the light from the streetlamps pooled and the eerie glow from the pink Malibu lights in the hotel garden.

Even though I’ve done this once before, I did fit it all together once before so presumably I can do it again, even though I am in love with the characters again.

Because the doubts are the same as before: What if it’s flat? What if it’s heavy-handed? What if it’s incoherent? What if it’s flat, heavy-handed, and incoherent? What if, even though, bless you Anne Lamott for green-lighting the shitty first draft, this is as good as it gets? What if it’s dull and stupid and I can’t even tell it’s dull and stupid and I submit it with a self-satisfied smile on my face?

This is what dogs are for.

My dog, having noticed that I’m huddled, racked with doubt, over a hot laptop, has taken advantage of the opportunity to steal some underwear from the hamper and frolic through the house with it. And as hard as this is, it’s not as impossible as catching a really fast dog with dirty underwear in his mouth.

Gotta try.

(Photo of dog cavorting with underwear in mouth to follow.)