Writing, the ups and downs of finishing a novel…..

Maybe it's why  we write tooI think this is why we write as well, to touch other people, to reach out from the void and scream, I am not alone. I am here. I feel what you feel. I see what you see. We are not always, sometimes, we is.

That being said, it’s time for a rant….

Have you ever worked on a project so long that you just hated it? That’s how I’m starting to feel with my novella.

It all started 3 years ago, when an artist friend of mine wanted to do a graphic novel with me. Young, and naïve, I full heartedly agreed though my boyfriend (now ex) warned me that he might have ulterior motives.

I spent all summer, working a crappy job at a water tower theme park  (I sold tickets and gave a tour up an elevator that was frequently break), writing during the dead times until I had banged out a sort of script for the graphic novel.

Then I waited…for anything, some sign of him working on the project. I complained. He drew a view mock-ups, but eventually he complained that I wasn’t dedicated.

In reality, I told him we would never have a future (romantically) together, and thus he scraped the project.

For the next year, I let it sit. My world was in chaos and I wasn’t about to sit and retool a 100 page script thing.

And then one day I realized I wanted this idea to see the light of day.

But I hate it.

It isn’t yet what I envisioned.  I keep trying to rework it, but it isn’t yet what I want. I’m not sure it will ever be.

Part of me wants to scrap it and walk away, but still part of me is in love with it.

Maybe it’s because I don’t usually work in the genre or maybe its because I envisioned it in pictures.

Maybe it’s not any good.

But I know I’m going to just keep going, no matter how much I complain.

I guess in the end, It might not be perfect but it’s my baby and I need to give it the life it deserves.

Here’s a short excerpt:

Chapter 1

The arching skyline rose, casting a shadow over Santana Cooke, blocking the little light left from the rising night’s sun. The faux-goth architecture, arches and ornamentation, mated into awkward, menacing angles, dangling precariously over her head, threatening to crash down, a fierce hellfire of fused limestone and metal. Goblins, angels and gargoyles, their cameras tucked away, eyes stone-cold, stared down at her, fleetingly stealing glances of life and soul. Santana shivered, pulling her black leather jacket tightly around her Guns N’ Roses T-shirt.

She could feel the world on her, burning, the sun on a summer day.

Summer.

She’d lay for hours in her yard, listening to her mother’s humming through the kitchen windows, reaching for the clouds as the laundry hung over-head, waltzing back then forth with the breeze until her father returned home from work, a candy bar in his pocket for her to sneak before dinner.  Anything was possible then.

Santana shuttered at how quickly things changed.

Turning down a side alley, she paused, the pulse of the city lost in the cobblestone. No one noticed her in the herds of people muddling along to chew their cud, find a lover, or jump off a bridge. Thoughts collected, she ran on until the building Tek described came into view.

He better not be lying. I paid a pretty penny for this information.

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19 comments on “Writing, the ups and downs of finishing a novel…..

  1. I love rants because I’ve set out to write each and every day this year.

    So when I have nothing major to write, I always start my “diary” with the words:

    Another day, another rant…

    And then I manage to write whatever that comes out of my mind.

    And, yes, we read to know that we are not alone.

  2. If a joint project started under false pretenses isn’t enough to kill your desire to finish something, I don’t know what is 🙂

    In the end, writing takes a great deal of continuous effort with the real possibility of no payoff other than the pleasure you took in writing the piece. If you can’t bring yourself to face the project, it is time for a new one.

    On your opening above, I was somewhat confused by the second paragraph and unsure how much was metaphorical and how much was actual. Also, I wasn’t really sure what you meant by “arching sky casts a shadow”- clouds might cast a shadow but the sky itself doesn’t? (Or is that a bit of imagery I’m being dense about 🙂 )

    It did seem a little bit of a slow start to me until I got to the very last sentence. What about making that the first sentence?

    • Thanks for the advice. I’ll keep it in mind. I accidently posted an older version but I updated my version which should take care of a few of the issues. But I will definately take everything you said into consideration!

  3. Have you ever worked in a project so long you hated it? Oh yes. Oh hell yes. It usually happens when some preconceived notion stands in the way of flow. For me it is usually structure. For another writer friend, it is often character. She was so funny one day, stuck on a story block for weeks until, in a stroke of her pencil, she realized that character A could never be interested in character B, which she had conceived as the romantic lead. Character A would fall for character C. And then it all fell into place.

  4. I don’t know if you have a story here yet – too short a sample and beginnings often get rewritten – but you can write prose that scans, and you’d be surprised how rare that is in not-yet-published writers.

    Keep at it. When you have more, find yourself readers: friends, family, some beta readers who will stick with it until you’re finished. If the story is yours, only you can write it.

    • Thanks! That’s actually the process I’m in right now. I have most of it done (rough draft) with a few readers who are giving me feedback. A long process, but I think it will be worth it.

  5. There is not one moment that goes by when I don’t hate what I’m writing/creating, but not to finish something you are so passionate about would be the biggest crime against yourself. Never give up!

  6. For twenty years I have written with a partner on a lot of pieces. Dora Graham has a life of her own… but there are traps. It’s a special relationship fired by a story. NOT by an ulterior motive. I would suggest scrapping the project, leave it in your notes, and wait for something that you can work on with your own creativity and integrity intact. If you hate it, it is not for you. Write because you need to, you HAVE to. And write for yourself. The best work begins because YOU want it and YOU want the characters and incidents to work on your own emotions. Drop it in the trunk, leave it there to ferment, and one day you will take it out with a fresh pair of eyes. Then get on with writing.
    Comment: It is a GRAPHIC novel, written for pictures. Consequently there is a lot of overwriting. If you decide to finish this, simplify it, it’s not poetry, it’s a story. Clip it, trim it and give it punch. If you must, treat it like a punchbag. Take your anger out on it and rip into it.
    I’m following your progress. Take care, and keep on writing.

  7. I’m intrigued. I have finished several novels but haven’t sought publication as fiercely as one should. Lately I’ve been working on synopses. It’s worse than writing the novel. I’ll be following your progress as well. Maybe we’ll find agents simultaneously!

    • Synopses… ugh, I think that’s the worst part of writing. I’m working on one myself now. Best suggestion I’ve found so far is to focus on the inner-journey elements: show the characters changing and dealing with turning points, black moment, realization, etc. and only cover enough plot to setup the premise and illustrate the inner-journey.

  8. I think you need to start something completely new and fresh – on your own – from your soul – try free-writing, brainstorming and just see what comes out! You need to be able to see it in your mind’s eye, feel it in your heart and know it is from the depths of your writing soul – true to you and you alone – well…that’s what I think anyway! 🙂

  9. if you hate what you have – back off and take out a fresh blank piece of paper. Then begin again with something you enjoy…nay…love!. Don’t battle with the beastly Fu#ker, trying to wrestle it to submission- let it sleep, hell,suffocate the beast if you want -and start afresh with a smile.

    thanks for stopping by, and reading my lovely madness. 🙂

  10. Hello! Your ‘like’ on one of my posts led me here and I felt compelled to leave a comment on this wonderfully empathetic post. Know this, friend: You are sooooooo not alone. I practically have enough ‘babies’ to open an orphanage (though I’d probably get sued for neglect)… okay, terrible analogy. Let’s try this again.

    I may have let many of my stories collect dust (over years!) but I’ve never thought of abandoning them. If I were to be honest, I know I’d never finish some of them, but I’m still not giving myself the excuse of giving up on them. I’m a stubborn nut 😉 I could argue that a sign of good writer is being able to love their stories through hell and back. You’ve got that! Please don’t be afraid to give your story a voice 🙂 Write on!

    P.S. I think ‘shuddered’ and not ‘shuttered’ might have been the word you were looking for. Correct me if I’m wrong!

  11. What doesn’t kill us doesn’t make us stronger right? I love the saying, God only gives me what I can handle….I just wish he didn’t trust me so damn much!! I wish you well on your journey with this project sweet soul. Sometimes you turn the page and sometimes you close the book.

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