Why can’t I do this?
I’ve spent the last week really struggling with the preparation for the science-fantasy story on the International Space Station.
Once again — as bloody always — I’ve prepared a story that’s just too wide and sprawling to nail down. There’s no way I can wrap the whole thing up within 50,000 words. Plus I’ve outlined two flashbacks already.
Too much! Too much!
And when I was reviewing the outline to work on the protagonist’s goals and motivations, I realised… her goals and motivations are utterly irrelevant.
Everything happens to her. She’s kept in the dark about everything, right up until the last minute. She has no agency whatsoever. I was so focussed on writing cool reveals for the reader, I didn’t realise I’d written an utterly duff lead character.
I spent about an hour brainstorming some fixes, but none of them worked. I felt the story slip through my fingers, until I was left feeling completely and absolutely meh.
Then I filed the project away to work on another time, and opened up a new, blank page.
Let’s try again
At the top of the blank page, I listed out the most important things for me to put into this story.
- Science-fiction, or fantasy, or science-fantasy
- Queer romance
Right. That gives me a litmus test for any ideas I come up with.
I knew that the top metric — self-contained — would be the most difficult. It’s always the most difficult. I can never nail the endings of stories.
So, I tried something a bit different: I made a list of awesome endings. They’re totally out of context, and don’t mean anything to anyone except me, but I know that — if I hit them — then the story will definitely and absolutely be done.
I’m not going to share them, because they’re very rough and I don’t know which (if any) I’ll use. Suffice to say, I’ve got a couple in mind that I really like, and they’re giving me targets to aim for.
And… that’s really all I’ve to show for this week. I’ve archived the old outline, and I’m still in the brainstorming stage for the new one.
I’m a little bit pissed off
The thing is, Sunday is my writing day.
I get up at 5am, and I work solid through to around 3pm. That’s when I feel the anxiety of the new week creeping up on me, and I know I can’t fight it, so I don’t try. I wrap up at 3pm, then write a blog post, then go and play video games or something.
That’s what I usually do, anyway.
This morning, I got up at 5am. I tried to fix the utterly broken plot. I realised I had to trash it and start over. And by 6am, I was burned out on self-doubt already.
Right now, I definitely feel like I’m not capable of doing the thing I most want to do. And that sucks.
Today has pretty much been a total waste. I’ve barely typed a couple hundred words. I took my head out of the game — because I needed it, but fuck, I’ve lost a Sunday. I’ve lost a writing day.
The plan for next week
I’ve got two weeks until NaNoWriMo starts. It’s getting close. My plan now is to just get my head down, brainstorm ideas, and get an outline done.