10000 words and a spreadsheet later

The project. When I’m not working at the part-time job, ‘the project’ is my focus. But today, I find there’s trouble in my fiction-building paradise. I’ve made a big mistake– I may not be writing what I want, but rather writing what I think may work as a publishable book. I’m at the point where I’m bored with my own plot, and hell, if I don’t find it interesting, why would I expect anyone else to give it a read?

Where this leads me– I may be scrapping a great portion of the 10000 words of fiction I’ve written and starting again. I like certain elements of what I’ve done, but for the most part I’m not feeling it as a whole. This is a dreadful thing to realise. It’s the kind of thing you wish you’d seen coming at 500 words, rather than 10000 words. I need to make it clear that I’m not retreating because it’s become hard work, but rather intervening before I declare my pile of words stillborn.

I think there’s a really important lesson in this: write what you’d want to read. If that means it’s about normal, everyday sorts of people and problems — fine. But if it should be about mermaid cowboys shopping for sequinned trousers — better to write that and feel it, instead of churning out something you don’t believe in and would certainly pass over in a bookshop.

Coming to that conclusion is the first thing that’s felt right about this project all day.

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3 thoughts on “10000 words and a spreadsheet later”

  1. Bear in mind, of course, that you’ve spent far longer with it than any reader ever will, examining it in far more exacting detail. I’ve hated everything I’ve written by the time I’m finished with it; I think that it’s pretty normal.

  2. Yes, and I am cursed with a level of hyperfocus that treats editing not only as a necessary process but an anal compulsion that makes those dudes that do paintings on grains of rice look sloppy.

    I need to not analyze the fuck out of my fiction. It’s almost a shame that the answer isn’t at the bottom of a glass of strong drink. That would be soooo easy!

  3. Hey Jen,

    It may sound geeky, but Steve Jobs made a very astute comment about his time since returning to Apple – that he was just as proud of what they had decided *not* to ship. You’re far better off wielding a big axe than shipping something you wouldn’t be proud to have your name on.

    Write for yourself. If publishers think other people will like it, all good and wonderful, but with options like print on demand etc these days, the publisher and their whims aren’t the most important link any more.

    Your artistic integrity is your greatest asset, and the only thing you have to answer to at the end of the day.


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