[Warning: I haven’t really edited this post much, and there’s a lot of ranting. So read at your own risk.]
I wrote nearly two thousand words again yesterday, and I was planning on trying to get at least half way there again. I made it to 500 words, then promptly smacked my hand on a bookshelf. That turned into an excuse to take a break from writing, because it was just a tad bit painful to bend my fingers, and I ended up doodling a dragon, instead.
And….well, if you can’t guess it, now I’m just wasting time so I don’t have to go back to the writing. It’s not that I don’t want to write, per se, I guess I’m just stuck. I mean, okay, yes, I’m supposed to be writing a scene I don’t really like. Mostly because it involves my seven year old character getting injured, and I guess my big-sister-instincts just do not like that idea. I’m probably going to have to find a way to change the scene or something.
But it feels like there might be more to it than just that. I have an outline, so I could very well just pick a different scene to write, and do that, but I can’t seem to figure out how to do that, either. Something feels wrong with my outline.
I have tons of theories of what it might be. My characters aren’t developed enough, and so I’m having trouble getting into anybody’s head when I write a scene. Or maybe I have one of those subtle little plot holes like I had a few weeks ago again. Or maybe it’s because I’m worried that I don’t have enough space in my novel to properly get all the way through my character arcs without rushing things.
Or maybe it’s something else entirely.
But I’m starting to worry that I’m imagining flaws and problems in my writing. Anytime something doesn’t go right, or I don’t understand something, I try to come up with a problem so that I know what I’m facing and how to overcome it. Only it never works out that way. My “solution” never ends up working right because my “problem” really isn’t what I thought it was. It’s happened like that time and time again.
I’m just making things up. I’m a perfectionist who’s trying to perfect something that she’s so inexperienced about, she barely has any clue what she’s doing before she tries to perfect it. I mean, all I really have to compare to is published authors who are so much farther along than I am. And how can I really compare? Especially since the ones I’m most likely to compare myself with are my favorite authors.
Yes, hello, Brandon Sanderson, your writing is about a million times better than mine. But does that mean mine is good or bad? It’s not as good as his—obviously—but…is it bad? I look at things those authors have and do and how they do it, and then at mine, and everything seems to fall short. John Flanagan has amazing characters. You could probably pull everything out of the books except for the dialogue and I’d still know who’d be saying what
and not just because Ranger’s Apprentice is one of my favorite book series. My characters…blend into one another and seem identical half the time.
But do they really do that, or am I just seeing it that way because my writing isn’t as good as Flanagan’s? Brandon Sanderson has some of the coolest magic systems I’ve ever seen before. My magic systems seem either stereotypical, or don’t make any sense whatsoever. Or both at the same time. But are they really like that?
The only flaw I know for sure exists is my tendency to skip over writing descriptions. I know it because you can see that most of my pages are nothing but dialogue, and because I’ve caught myself doing it, and because I’ve had people tell me they’re having trouble picturing anything more than a white room around the characters. And I’m not writing the beginning to the chapters in Ender’s Game, so that doesn’t work.
Worst part is, I can’t even really ask anybody to read any of my writing and tell me what I’m imagining and what I’m not. I don’t have anything for anybody to read. Sure, I have my nearly 30-thousand word novel that I’m currently working on, but some of these flaws I’m seeing in my writing are only picked up on (if they exist) if you’ve read the whole novel. Character arcs, plot holes, and so on. (Which only adds to the proof that I’m not seeing things clearly. If you can only see them if you’ve read the whole novel, and I’m not even finished writing it, then how do I know it exists?)
Besides, very, very few people have ever read any of my novels all the way through, and I don’t really believe that anybody I give my work to will change that. My mom read one draft, but she had promised me she would, so she was obliged to. My cousin read another draft, but I had the story printed out and could literally hand her a page until she’d reached the ending. A few other friends read another draft only because they wanted to fangirl over my characters, because the only thing that made them (or the entire book) interesting was their pointless banter. But everybody else—including all of my supposed beta-readers? I’m lucky if they come back for chapter two.
If there’s a point to this whole post, I’m not really sure what it is. I guess I just need to keep writing until I finish a story again. Who cares if I’m any good or not? It’s a first draft, for goodness sake.