Meanwhile, I'm grappling with fear-induced writer's block. As in, writer's block caused by my not opening Word at all. Whenever I was anxious as a kid (which was, oh, 95% of the time), my father used to ask me, in the most smug and least helpful way possible, "What's the worst thing that could happen?" Despite the fact that he boarded the failboat a long time ago, and that "Whatever he did, do the opposite" is a fairly good approach to living, "What's the worst thing that could happen?" is perhaps the one useful thing he has passed on to me. Except that, of course, he wasn't doing it right. (I used to get so frustrated with him that I think that, on at least on one occasion, I actually said, "THE WORLD WILL END.") He was using it in the sense of, "Well, nothing, really, so it doesn't matter anyway." I've found it's far more useful to think of actual, meaningful answers to the question and deal with those. And sometimes it involves saying, "Well, yeah, this could happen, and that would probably suck. But here's what we'll do if that happens, and here's what we could possibly do to avoid it." Life goes down a bit easier when you're walking into that eighth-grade oral book report not under a cloud of vague fear, but knowing that you could start flailing, and you probably will, but if you do, just stop, swallow, and start your sentence over. That kind of thing. Expect it, don't fear it.
So here's what I'm worried about:
I'm going to finish this thing and write myself into some huge plot hole, or the plot's going to be so snarly that it's not even going to make sense.
Well, it's probably not, in all actuality, going to be that bad, but if it is, just write it through, finish it, let it be stupid, and work on fixing it from there. You probably won't be able to untangle it until you have the whole thing in front of you anyway.
But what if I screw myself over for future installments?
Well, you'll have to apologize to your (future) readers and ret-con it the best you can. You'll still be ahead of a bunch of authors who either didn't notice their gigantic plot hole or quietly ignored it. And you can have people beta-read it for you, you know. I'm sure they'll point out tons of stuff.
Oh God, they will, and that's, like, the worst part.
Well, they're going to, so there's no need to worry about it, because it is going to happen.
Well--but--what if I can't think of anything for all these minor characters to do, and a bunch of them just seem to sit there and have no purpose?
Well, finish the thing, and then go back and try to work some of them in. Just give them a few sightings or chit-chat things to do, use them to flesh out Rose Hannah's world a little, and you can use them in other stories if you want, but they'll have served their purpose in the story if you don't.
But what about the research? I've already done so much and it still doesn't seem to be enough!
Well, just keep writing, do the best you can on the fly, at least finish it, and then you can try to do some cleanup work. Maybe this is a sign that you should take the "science" of the story to a more fantastical level, because at least that way you can be like, "But it wasn't supposed to be accurate!"
But I don't know anything about zeppelins! Why did I put in zeppelins?
Well, because you're a dumbass, mostly. Just keep being that dumbass and deal with it later.
I hate science.
See the Booker Shortlist here.
Cancer fears raised over identity chip implants.
Polar bears extinct by 2050? NOOOOOO!
Japanese man keeps air guitar title.
High C: The Note That Makes Us Weep.
Not to be? Group revisits Shakespeare authorship debate.
Parents Today: Wesleyan Dad Can't Believe His Child Is Merely Average. Somehow, this is not an article from The Onion.
(Actual articles from The Onion: Kitten Thinks of Nothing But Murder All Day; War on String May Be Unwinnable, says Cat General.
Noir cat doesn't mind a reasonable amount of trouble. *
That's levitation, Homes.
French actress/singer Charlotte Gainsbourg hospitalized after suffering a brain hemorrhage; Gainsbourg Improving. Nooooo! I love her! Maybe I'm crazy, but she was my perfect Jane Eyre.
Cate Blanchett wins Best Actress in Venice for playing Bob Dylan. Other winners: Lust, Caution for best film; Brad Pitt for best actor (somewhat surprising, as apparently Casey Affleck--from the same movie--was tipped to get it instead).
TIFF 07: Lust, Caution; TIFF Interview: Eastern Promises Director David Cronenberg; Toronto Diary: Top 10 Movies to Watch.
" '3:10 to Yuma' rides away with a surprisingly easy box-office win."
Review: '3:10 to Yuma' a classic ride; Review: 'Shoot 'Em Up' trashy -- brilliantly so.
A New Trailer and Teaser Poster for P.T. Anderson's 'There Will be Blood.' "Based on Oil!, Upton Sinclair's novel about a father and son in the oil business, There Will be Blood stars Daniel Day Lewis as a heartless oil prospector in turn-of-the-century Texas. Paul Dano (Little Miss Sunshine) stars as a fervent preacher who wins over the townspeople just as Lewis is alienating everyone around him."
The Sequel We've All Been Waiting For: 'Hamlet 2.' "The teen comedy (yes, it's a teen comedy) will focus on a struggling drama teacher who decides to write the ultimate in sequels, Hamlet 2, to save his drama department." I would so go see that.
Kevin Bacon To Fans: I Am Not In ‘Golden Compass.’ Someone thought he was?
First Look at Harry Potter DVD Box Set Due in December; David Thewlis to Return as Lupin for "Half-Blood Prince"; Daniel Radcliffe interview with the Guardian.
Bond 22 Plot Revelations!
First Pics of De Niro and Pacino from 'Righteous Kill' Arrive Online.
New National Treasure & John Rambo Trailers! Oh, for fuck's sake.
Will Smith Finds 'Happyness' with 'Seven Pounds.'
Spoilerific Details Emerge Regarding 'Magneto' Spin-Off.
Paltrow, Phoenix Are Two Lovers.
Nick Cannon Ready To Hit The Court For Arthur Ashe Biopic.
Does Jessica Alba Know Who Barbarella Will Be (Rose McGowan)? Oh my God, I am already so sick of hearing about this movie and they haven't started filming yet.
Wolfgang Petersen to Direct Whitley Strieber's The Grays.
New Line to Remake Juan Antonio Bayona's The Orphanage.
Cameron Diaz as the mother in My Sister's Keeper ?
Pretty, pretty people: Orlando Bloom — GQ’s Man of the Year; Christian Bale photo session for USA Today; Keira Knightley does British 'Vogue.'
Zahara Jolie-Pitt's first handbag.
Vanessa Hudgens apologizes for nude photo.
Barrowman in Out magazine for the win:
>> "Finally [the reporter] got around to a question about my life. I said, ‘Oh, my God, you said gay! I’m so proud of you. It only took you 20 minutes!’ "
>> "The Royal Air Force even asked him to do a fly-by and pose for in-character photo ops. While such a request of an openly gay actor is unthinkable in the current climate of the U.S. military, the United Kingdom drafted a new code of conduct in 2000 allowing gay men and women to serve openly in its armed services. “That’s why I said I’d do it.” Out comes the wicked grin: “I’d like to think my pilot was gay. How many gay boys want to go in the cockpit? I did that!”
>> "Who's your favorite guy on Lost?" "Sawyer. He's a rough boy. I like Jack, but...Sawyer. I would just -- devour him. I'm happy to have to put up a fight."
"Draco and The Malfoy's Play FIRST HARRY POTTER CRUISE EVER!!!" There are so many things that terrify me about this sentence that I don't even know where to start.