Tag Archives: block

Broken Bicycle

Bicycle

Have you ever tried taking a bicycle apart? Or a car or plane or something that would be a huge project to put back together?

I was sick for the past week. I took work off. I did nothing but lay in bed. I hated every minute of it. I had a nasty cold – the worst cold I’ve had in a long time. I didn’t think about my book for a week. I put it out of my thoughts entirely. I still have the cold, but I’m getting over it slowly.

Today, I started to work on it. But then stopped. I feel lost all of a sudden. As if, I’d taken apart a bicycle and couldn’t figure out how to put it back together. All the pieces lay surrounding me. I just don’t know what to do exactly.

The entire book, everything… It’s finished and it’s isn’t. I know what I want to have happen. I have the characters pretty much figured out. I have a ton of parts already written. It’s just figuring out the finer details and how to connect the dots.

Oh boy… It feels like it’s going to be the long haul.

Of Stale Baguettes and Black Lagoons

Stale Baguette

There are parts of my book I’m totally satisfied with. These parts are the fresh tidbits I’ve been adding. The scenes I’m very dissatisfied with are the ones I’ve written long ago. They feel very stale to me like an ancient baguette and probably because I’ve read them over a million times. I come to write these scenes and edit them… And I find myself eternally stuck. I absolutely hate it.

What will I ever do?

I’ll probably end up printing them off and try different ways of rewriting the parts. I just don’t know how to go about doing it. I mean to say, I don’t know what I should change or keep. It feels like I’m slowly beginning to sink into a black lagoon. I need to quickly find my way out of this swampy No Man’s Land.

The Fascination of Drying Paint

Staring Out A Window

I’m stuck on a scene… Or rather I should say I’m stuck on several scenes and probably the rest of my book.

The problem isn’t that I don’t where to take the scene. The problem is that I feel as if my engine has been used up. As though there is no gas left in the tank. This is a horrible, awful, terrible feeling if you happen to be on a deadline and constantly trying to push yourself to write more.

My book is due to be published… Well, the editors should be getting back to me by November-ish. At which time I have to send them my entire book in its completed state. It’s current state is about eight chapters out of thirty. I’ve a lot of material written from previous drafts. Some of it I’ve been using and it’s helped.

My favorite feeling in the world is that sense of fire you get from inspiration. The flame that burns and burns and propels you to write a really, really good piece. It’s as if the words themselves are coming from some celestial place in the universe. A place of divine inspiration. A place that happens… Not as often as we’d like.

The worst feeling is the moment you start writing and it’s like watching paint dry. Each sentence, description, everything sounds absolutely stark. Forced. I’ve tried everything to bring my words to life this morning. I was completely productive and cleaned. I showered. I did chores. I went for a jog. I came home feeling refreshed and ready to fight the world. But then, I get on here and start typing. The words won’t obey me. My creativity is kaput.

Sometimes, when I feel like this I’ll stick a really good soundtrack on that’s full of energy. A few times it has worked and vitalized my writing. This time however… I’m still watching paint dry.

The Words all look the Same. How Strange…

manuscript-editing

When you write, you’ll reach a point where it’s impossible to read your story. You know everything bit by bit. All of the words. Everything that happens. You’ve slaved away on this manuscript for months, years, however long. After spending long nights in your basement punching out letter after letter on an Remington typewriter… Ok, maybe not a typewriter or basement but you get the point. After you’ve punched out the complete thing, you’ll want to proof read it. You turn the pages over and start to read but come to a earth shattering realizing. All the words look the same! Nothing makes any sense!

This has happened to me too many time to count. And I’ve dealt with it in many different ways. Some people will suggest getting an editor. An editor is a brilliant and probably the best option. They are a fresh pair of eyes. They understand how stories are suppose to work. They may not be good writers themselves, but damn, they can smell an error ten miles away.

But if you’re like me and couldn’t possibly pay someone $1000 to edit your story, then you do what I did. You come up with a creative solution.

When I hit a wall like this one and don’t have the capital to hire a gun, I do one of two things or both. (a) Get a friend or family person to read it. (b) Go over it myself.

I have very few friends who can read my stuff and give me the advice I need. In that case, I go with the latter option of myself. But then I remember the fact that I can barely read the manuscript and the errors are invisible to me. This is where the creative thinking comes in.

Print off your story. But in different font. Make it really weird font. I usually write in Garamond, so I’ll print it off in some strange font nobody’s heard of like KC Fink. DA FONT is a really good place to go for crazy font. I change the color and size of the text. I make it look at different as possible. The purpose of this is to make the manuscript look different so it’ll feel a bit new to you. It’s still your same book and you know this. It won’t read like some novel you randomly pick up at the library. But hopefully it’ll read a little fresher.

Another thing I do is cut up my manuscript into a thousand different pieces and spread them across my living room/bedroom floor. But this takes up a lot of time and if you don’t happen to have all the time in the world like I love to pretend I do, then you don’t have to go with this option. Just open WORD or Google DOCs and change the font of your book. Make it look crazy. Silly. Weird. Different.

Another option is to upload the entire thing to Fictionpress.

The Concept of Today’s Flat Writers

nirvana

What do you do when you feel as though words are coming out of you sounding flat? As though they have no air. No color. No vibrancy which attracts the reader to the page. I have finished with a chapter for my book and I dare say that I’m glad with it, however the ending has stupefied me. I look over and ask, how should this be ended? I can see my character climbing into her car and saying farewell. But the words don’t surface in the correct order. They are all jumbled messes spilling from me in ink blots.

When I’m usually stuck in a rut like this, I open a good book and start reading. If a book is thrilling and the writing terrific, my power of words returns to me sharply. I feel inspired and a fresh flame of passion. I can write again, aha! Is what I say. My problem happens to be I’m extremely picky. It’s difficult for me to choose or even to find a good book. Sometimes, I scour the web for something smashing and mostly come up empty. Last night, I started reading a few stories on the New Yorker but eventually fell asleep half way through them.

I feel there are few good writers today. All of their writing has gone flat. Why is that? Sure, there are quite a few compelling stories that have and are being told, yet many of them have seem to forgotten the art of writing. The art of putting words together just so. I believe the poets have a better concept of it than us writers.

One great, amazing piece I have recently discovered and read is Nirvana by Adam Johnson. The story quite literary knocked my socks off. It was that brilliant. The artistry which Adam uses to convey his thoughts. The emotional context of the story. The beauty of the sentences so cleverly put together. And, the descriptions that leave me speech less. My favorite description Adam uses is when he describes the skin of a character as the color of refrigerator light. It’s a unique way of saying pale and weak. In my writing, I’ve tried find unique ways to describe things too. Sometimes I’ve succeeded and other times…

My point is, writing seems to have become flat. And I wish for somebody to prove me wrong. To show me all of the miraculous stories which have been written but never entered my radar. I believe finding a brilliantly written story will guide me out of my own quandary.

A Rather Blustery Day

blusteryHum dum dum ditty dum Hum dum dum. Oh the wind is lashing lustily And the trees are thrashing thrustily And the leaves are rustling gustily So it’s rather safe to say That it seems that it may turn out to be It feels that it will undoubtedly It looks like a rather blustery day, today.

Winnie the Pooh’s song a Hum for a Blustery Day comes to mind at this moment. It smartly sums up my bleak Monday. For the past hour, I’ve been sitting in front of my computer screen with hands poised over keyboard. My fingers twitch with energy to type down a word but nothing happens. I’ve been attempting and failing to write a particular scene for my book. Words aren’t coming and I’m sure my mind is tired of writing. It feels painful to put words down.

Outside is gloomy. The weather is terrible. It’s rather blustery which is why Pooh’s song is rattling around in my brain. It seems like a painfully slow day of miserable weather. This has dampened my mood and made my writing powers freeze up. It’s a miracle that I’ve actually been able to write this post. Huzzah for Mondays! Or in Eeyore’s words, “It’s just another gloomy day. Don’t mind me.”

Back Story Isn’t the Backbone of America

mad

Back story isn’t the back bone of America… It’s the back bone of Writing.

I hate writing back stories. I can’t stress how absolutely frustrating it is. Am I alone here? Am I only the one who feels this way? I’m currently in the process of reworking or tweaking a few chapters of my book. I had a character who I’ve recently added and am currently exploring. Without giving anything away, I can say he is not a very likable person. He is complex. He is confusing to me. And here lies my problem.

When you create a character, you must know him/her inside out. Otherwise, he’ll always remain aloof and ambiguous to your audience. Creating a character your audience can connect with is what’s story telling is all about, right? People don’t want the boring white guy who goes to Starbucks and orders a foamy latte every morning before work. They want the guy who goes to Starbucks and orders the Dirty Hippie. And yes, that drink does exist.

I’ve been through the web a dozen times looking up great tips for the writer. In the end, I’m probably procrastinating but it can’t be helped. I’m stuck with this scene. What I’ve found is that when I’m stuck with a scene it’s because the scene is no good. But unfortunately this part is needed. I love writing the back story as a flashback and it’s a mechanism that I use religiously in my writing, but for this particular scene/character it won’t do.

Google, the one with all the answers, has promptly told me that perhaps I should sit down with a notebook and scribble whatever comes to mind. For non-writers, this is called freewriting. Typically, it has helped immensely in the past here it seems to be very dry. I take up pen in my hand and doodle a few pretty flowers and then some words. But my pencil feels heavy and I find words won’t come.

An hour swiftly follows and I’m staring madly at the colorless wall in front. My eyes trace patterns in the plaster before me as my imagination keeps turning. Recently, I watched Fight Club. That is a great movie with a load of awesome characters. What makes a great character? As I watched the movie, I came to realize a few things.

Firstly, a great character has flaws. Deep flaws. They’re fucked up people. It’s their fucked up-ness that attaches us to them. We crave their drama. Their horrible terribleness. Their self-loathing or severe confusion. We feed on it like piranhas. This character who is giving me such a terrible time is very messed up. At first, you don’t realize it but then it slowly dawns on you. He’s so awful your dad would have a heart attack if he found you with him. In fact, your dad would take his baseball bat and smash this guy’s head in for talking to you.

Another attribute of this character is his snarkiness. He is a damn asshole. He doesn’t give a crap about you or anyone else for that matter. If you came up to him and asked for a cigarette, he might help your nicotine craving or he just might smirk and walk away. A snarky person thinks he is better than everyone else and this sets him drastically apart from the world. His attitude of indifference makes him an absolute loner. Not a loser. Just a loner. We’re not talking about the loner who always eats his lunch alone in the school cafeteria and looks terrible sad. We’re talking about the loner who chooses to eat alone because people are just to dumb to deal with. He’s frustrated with humanity’s idiocy and separates himself from the rest.

My character is a terrible person. He pretty much screws everyone in the book, but that’s giving away too much for now. For those who’ll eventually read my book and then find this post, you can probably guess who I’m talking about. So far, it’s been a thrilling ride working with the characters in my book. I’m sure this will turn into an adventure as well.