It’s starting to feel like I’m spending more time blogging about my novel than writing it. This is clearly not due to my 11,000+ word count (hold on, changing music) but still. Perhaps these entries serve as registries of my moments of doubt and jubilation, and as such mark them more indelibly in my mind than they otherwise would themselves alone.
Writing is a solitary pursuit, and as such fraught with hazards particular to its nature. You write alone, you pursue the thread of plot alone, you guess at which way to turn, and are therefor alone in your decisions. Nobody to tell you if you should have zigged when you should have zagged, nobody to tell you to take a left at the fork in the heart of the swamp toward dry land not the right toward the deepest part of the murk.
Questions bedevil and haunt me as I progress. Second guessing. That cursed shoulder backseat driver of an editorial voice. No no no. Not good, you’ve barely registered what the scene looks like. You’ve not voice the character’s thoughts sufficiently, rendering her a cipher, distancing the reader. You’ve carried on for too long about the drive, you’ve had too many similar scenes back to back, you need to insert a moment of stillness to balance the action. This character is implausible, that one needs more screen time, there’s not enough dialog, that conversation went on for too long. And on it goes, on and on as I lower my chin to my chest and raise my shoulder to my ears and soldier on, grimly trying to ignore those thoughts.
It’s like stalking a fox in a blizzard. Like crossing a frozen lake and fearing the crack of the ice beneath your feet. Like trying to lie to a stranger when you don’t know how much they know, constantly watching their face for cues. Like chasing a mirage across the desert, fully knowing it is an illusion but somehow desperately hoping to continue tricking yourself so that you just keep on moving on.
Writing. A solitary pursuit. More akin to stumbling through a fun house filled with warped mirrors than anything else. Where you don’t even know if the mirrors are warped to everyone or just yourself.
In the end you can only cover your eyes and run, run run run, run toward the end of that first draft and from the safety of the far bank then turn and gaze back over the trail you have blazed, and see how you might have done it differently.
Which is all a long preamble to the fact that I’m going back to the novel now to write Chapter 6. Shaky ground, this. But what the heck. Here I go.