My current work in progress has made a bold foray into Mushy Middle territory. I managed to tilt my head down and barrel forth, not getting stuck as early in the draft as I had in my previous book.
It is not exactly fair to say that I am stuck. I’m not stuck, merely on a slowdown due to being unsure where to take the story that I have started. As part of my attempt to take a seat of the pants approach to the story, I wound up laying a lot of lines that the story could potentially follow and now I am testing each in a state of the art mental simulation to see which holds any substance.
Plus, after working on it for the several months I have now given it thus far (longer than I thought it would take to write the first draft), I confess that I am a bit weary. Not stuck. Weary.
It is a perfectly natural creative fatigue, and I am learning to expect it. Because it’s here, and now, I need to also learn how to deal with it here and now.
In the past, before committing to my daily word count goals, my version of ‘dealing’ was a freak out session followed by banging my head against the desk without really accomplishing anything.
I am such an evolved Writing Maschine Person that my process has developed to a freak out session followed by banging my head against the desk while accomplishing a little bit.
No more stand stills for me, if I can help it. Stand stills are unhealthy for my momentum, and unhealthy for my self esteem and confidence. That’s the big motivation for staying on track with writing each day: missing one day makes it much more likely I’ll miss the next day.
One place that the Magic Spreadsheet does not explicitly clarify is what words you wrote. It cares only that you wrote them, and it is up to the individual user to decide what that means. The numbers and high score and whatnot only mean as much as you let them.
As I have mentioned in the past, taking breaks is important, and writing blog posts such as this are a sort of ‘day off’ from the main stresses of writing. Typically I will spend them on days when my family, friends, or Adult Life Responsibilities want enough of my attention to make any measure of concentration on writing the story too much to muster.
I realized that the occasional blog post was not giving me the level of refreshment I needed, though. My creative fatigue was deeper than that and I needed some creative therapy rather than just creative rest.
Because of that, I have spent the last week, to a large degree, working on a sort of fan fiction project, or what I am calling “fan fiction fiction.” I’ve never written fan fiction, and so it is an interesting and entertaining exercise to play around in someone else’s toybox.
I say “fan fiction fiction” because, while my story is set in another author’s universe, I am writing it as if it were a story published by someone in that universe.
Perhaps that’s unclear. My story, in the fiction I am creating, is supposed to be written by a science fiction author after the arrival of the lizard aliens in Harry Turtledove’s Worldwar series. Perhaps that is a bit too meta, but I find it an intriguing challenge to consider what effect actual aliens who are actually on Earth who actually traveled across the galaxy would have on science fiction writers. I would like to think that it would not obliterate science fiction, but rather change it. One would think that the addition of these new factors that are now known would give scope to expand the imagination even further.
That is all well and good, and I might even be pretentious enough to try and write meta-fiction (perhaps that’s a better term for it?) in other worlds, just to see what it’s like.
But I have to be honest. At the end of the day, it is mostly just fun to write from the perspective of a female of the Race. By the Emperor, I believe I could do this all day long!
I am not sure what I will do with this story. Because it is so heavily inspired by Harry Turtledove’s books as to be questionable in a legal standpoint, I may not be allowed to sell them. But hey, you people on the blog don’t mind a free story now and then, either, do you?
You, uh, don’t have to answer that right away.