I haven’t been writing here because I’ve been really trucking along in my novella — over 10,000 words in the rough draft! Technically, that’s about halfway, though this draft might be longer than that. I’m trying to be okay with the fact that I’ll have to go back and change a bunch of stuff to make the story work. All part of the revision process, right? I think my fear is that I’ll die or become a vegetable before I’m able to fix the mistakes I’ve made… but that’s something I should probably take up with a therapist.
In any case, I didn’t come here to be a sourpuss again. I came to talk about one of my most favorite things about writing — which is when stories surprise you by taking a different turn than you originally intended. I don’t know how this happens, because it means that someone who is not me (me = conscious me) is running the show and coming up with the good ideas. This makes me feel slightly inadequate, as the not-me clearly thinks it has better ideas, and usually it is right. Nevertheless, there is something magical about sitting down to write with a relatively clear idea of what you want to say and where the story is going to go, and then having this whole other concept bubble up out of your subconscious swamp, lashing all your loose ends together and creating some awesome origami crane out of the whole thing (to mix about a million metaphors). This just happened to me, and I’m so excited to keep writing, even though it means I’ll have to go back and fix all those mistakes from earlier in the story. Barring death and/or a vegetative state.
Funny how just yesterday I was stuck in a seemingly endless rut of a scene. How does this happen? These ideas can’t come from nothing, and yet as far as my conscious thoughts go, they just didn’t exist as of a half hour ago. How can you write a story and have no idea what it’s about… until, suddenly, it all becomes clear? It almost makes me feel like a hack — that what I would define as “skill” has little to do with the quality of the product, since so much of it is unintentional. Or maybe I just need to redefine what this skill means. Unless I’m the only one out here who’s just doddering around, poking at a story until it gets fed up with me and decides to make something of itself, at which point I say “Lookit what I did!” and take all the credit.
On an unrelated note, another thing I love is riding my bike to the garden and picking vegetables to use that same evening for dinner. Squash and beets were on the menu two nights ago… last night was rainbow chard. The tomatoes are starting to come in, and soon I’ll be drowning in grapes! Pictures of the garden soon, I promise. I want to be just like Pam.
Oh, so I guess the upshot of this is that I’ve been meeting my Write-a-Thon goals. This week is the last week of Clarion West and the last week of the Write-a-Thon, so if you have some pocket change to spare, go ahead and sponsor my ass. Or sponsor the rest of me, whichever you prefer. Or someone else, if you like their picture better.
And one last thing — the Brain Harvest Mega Challenge is open for submissions until August 31st! You should enter. It’s a really fun contest, and it has cash money prizes and a celebrity judge. Plus, it’s a fundraiser for Brain Harvest so we can continue to pay writers pro-rates. All of the reading fee money goes toward that and paying the prizes. This is not a sinister plot wherein we BH editors are going to run off to Mexico with your five bucks. It’s a worthy cause, so quit your bitching, all of you that are whining about “money flowing toward the writer.” The long view is that if you want money to flow toward you, you have to make a small initial investment. How else do you think we pay for this damn magazine? Our trust funds? Hardly. So invest in your community and have a little fun doing it.