Cleolinda Jones (cleolinda) wrote,
Cleolinda Jones

Checking in

I just want to let you know that I'm not dead or anything. I am having a very good time writing and wallowing in research materials, particularly a gold mine I stumbled upon for a subject I hadn't been able to find anything on in years previous. (Shhhh.) As such, I am behind on EVERYTHING. Well, I try to keep an eye on everything, but I've stopped posting anywhere very much. Tumblr in particular has gone by the wayside (but I will come back to it).

Basically, I spent the last months, if not year(s), wrestling with this goddamn novel and thinking that if I were just a good enough writer, I'd not only be able to make it work, I'd be able to make it brilliant. And then suddenly, I had my mood upswing of last week and started solving problems, and I finally started letting go of things that clashed logically. I used one plot hole as the solution to another a number of times, thereby simplifying the story. I either dropped ridiculously complicated background bits or said, look, if you can bring them in later, that's fine, but leave it for now. In fact, I think a lot of my problem was that I wanted to stuff all my plot into the first book, and then come up with equally complicated, overstuffed plots for the subsequent books. Too many things happening, too many settings, too many minor characters--too many things thrown at the reader too without letting them spend much time with any one thing. And I finally just stopped and said, you know what, you're getting to a point where no one's going to want to read this. It's just too much. Save some for later, damn. So I started paring and simplifying--honestly, it may still be really plotty. That's how much plot I was dealing with in the first place, that I still may have a fairly busy story.

MY POINT IS, I had this really wonderful moment of realizing that I wasn't the problem. It wasn't that I'm a terrible writer, that I wasn't good enough to make it work. It's that no one could make it work. I've got it to a point where I think it can work now, and I'm finding that... my writing, on a very simple first-draft level, is good enough. I'm not saying I'm going to win ALL THE AWARDS (or, indeed, any of them), but it was a really good moment for my self-esteem, that I finally felt capable.

So I'm trying to keep up with everyone, but I'm also just really happy at the moment, and I have to chase that wind as long as it blows. I would really like to post some linkspam today, but I don't know.

I am trying to get this week's Secret Life of Dolls finished. (I did put up a new installment on Sunday night.) The good parts are written; I just have to work on the connective tissue. This is generally my process anyway, and speaking of which, it is exactly how I write Movies in Fifteen Minuteses, and I realized with a start I'm supposed to start writing one of those this weekend. My time frame on turning one of those out these days seems to be 10-14 days, which sucks (because you want to be among the first out of the gate when it comes to cultural parody/commentary), but you get higher quality when I take my time and sleep on it, so what're you gonna do. BUT. I did want to put out a new Secret Life for people who would like unPotter counter-programming this weekend, and also, if we keep the story going, we'll get to our new arrivals in a more timely fashion. My birthday, which is now Relevant to Your Interests, is less than a month from now, after all.

ANYWAY. Back to wallowing in sources. So much to read, so little time, so much fun.

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Tags: black ribbon, we do not speak of it, writer's block, writing
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