Beginnings and Edits

New Year, new beginning, new story. That’s how this whole resolution thing works, right? The year starts, and on the stroke of midnight, you realize that your whole take on life is erroneous; you need to alter your attitude; you need to avert your attention from the horrendous details of your current manuscript; you need to acclimatise your apathetic mind to a fresh world of imagination.

In my case, the new year was coincidental to the new story; I got to the third round of editing for my current manuscript (whoop-di-doo, I know), and then I realised that if I stuck to editing bad grammar and plot holes, my ability to write would plummet. Didn’t want that to happen. So, I started a new story. Working title: Necking the Duckling. It has nothing to do with ducks, but necks are a fairly prominent feature…broken necks, but same difference.

At any rate, it’s funny how when editing your pile of crap, you slowly forget what a horror it was trying to get it onto the page. It’s like your brain is so shocked with the filth that is your writing that it just cannot hold on to the memory of the effort it took your asshole to divert the shit it held to your typing fingers. It’s too embarrassing, thinking that this horribleness actually took effort to produce. At least if it was easy, you’d have the excuse of apathy to fall back on. Like, you suck because you didn’t care enough to not suck.

It’s all coming back to me now though…so I’m telling you all about it.

First of all, you never know when to start. Sure, you’ve got a plot (we had a whole discussion about outlining in September last year), and a setting, and some kick-ass characters; but when do you actually start telling your story? And whose perspective should you tell it in? First person? Third person omniscient? Third person limited? Who should the third person be limited to? As if that’s not enough decision-making for one day, you then have to figure out the “voice” of the protagonist. For example, this new protagonist named Vic is slightly insane, obsessive, had a short attention span, has a sense of humour and zero empathy. Definitely on the sociopath spectrum. So, what will his head sound like? Bland? Hyper? Sarcastic? Rude? Arrogant? Decisions, decisions…Even if you do decide to make your character’s voice a certain way, sometimes you just can’t write like that. For instance, I am physically incapable of writing straight sentences; I always need to add some attitude, be it sarcasm or wit or rudeness. It’s quite annoying, actually. The other day, I had to write a script about two sirens killing each other, and it was meant to be serious. It turned into a sass fest. I’ve got no regrets, although my writing partner might think otherwise.

Secondly, writing takes so long! Looking back, I don’t understand how I managed to find time to write seven pages a day, for three months. How the hell did I get that organised? I’ve been working for an hour already on Necking the Duckling, and I’ve only got half a page written, and it really sucks. Maybe the plot isn’t clear enough in my head?

Thirdly, world-building. I fucking hate it. And this is fantasy, which means I need to create a culture and an environment and rules of magic, and a history, and a religion, and wildlife…Why do I do this to myself? This story could’ve just as easily happened in Manhattan 1978, but nope. I decided to make it magical, and now the plot is too entrenched in magic for it to be just a plain old thriller. This is a fantasy-thriller, and isn’t it just peachy?

Fourthly, the self-loathing. Because I had reached all my deadlines with Thingy with the Jiggy, I was feeling good about myself. I had a full manuscript that didn’t completely suck…life was good. Now, I can barely squeeze out a sentence, the plot is kind of wonky and I want to murder that blank screen on word. Life is great. I love being a writer. Let’s all join hands and sing that creepy Barney song.

In conclusion, being a writer sucks and I want to drag my nails on chalkboard screaming “Bloody Mary” at the world.

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