Finally! Office in Order/Novel Endings Are Hard

Posted: November 9, 2012 in Author Updates, On Writing
Tags: , , , , , ,

After three hours of cleaning Wednesday, and two hours of frustrated screaming at my printer, I’ve finally got my new-used desk put in place, my new(ish) printer set up, and my office clean and ready for maximum efficiency.

It’s freeing to clear out all the clutter and make room for my creativity to flow and grow. There’s still a bunch of stuff that needs to be sorted through and probably thrown out, in my office, but at least my desk and the area around it is organized and clean.

The used desk I bought (for only $26 at the local re-store) is oddly comfortable, already, and I think besides it being probably the best deal I will ever see on such a nice desk, it’s where I will hopefully spend hours and hours typing away and finishing my novel.

What novel? You may ask.

I’ve mentioned it before, in my post about creating monsters. Titled Lashine, I have around a hundred and thirty pages done, and am nearing the end. Yet I find it almost impossible to bring myself to finish it. I started the novel probably close to two years ago. Six to eight months of that time it has been just sitting in the memory on my computer (and a flash drive, remember the importance of backing up?), collecting dust, feeling lonely, and wondering if it will ever be whole.

Recently I’ve been under more pressure to finish Lashine. My Mom asked if I’d written the ending yet, and when I told her I hadn’t, she asked why not. I thought about it, and replied that I don’t know how I want it to end (not that I have a whole lot of control over it because at this point my characters are so strong they are doing things I hadn’t expected, which should make it easier to finish, but for some reason it’s just making it harder for me). Besides that, my brother-in-law, has been asking me every time he comes over if my novel is done yet and when am I going to sell it and get rich and share my wealth with everyone. While I know his expectations are beyond unrealistic (only because he is ignorant to the ways of publication and how hard it is to get a damn manuscript accepted), his (and my Mom’s) point is always clear and the same. “Why haven’t you finished your novel already?”

It’s become something of a nightmare phrase to me. “Why haven’t you finished your novel already?” I hear it all the time now. In my head, mostly, and when I pass a stranger on the street, it seems their eyes scream the same question. I know, it sounds like madness, but rather it’s my sub-conscious mind telling me that I can’t put it off much longer. Everywhere I look, I am reminded of it, of my own constantly preoccupied nature, and my willingness to procrastinate. It’s really starting to get to me, eat at me, and I do stop occasionally to wonder why I am doing this to myself.

I fear I’ve already lost the flow and ambition I once had to write that particular story. But does that mean I cannot finish it? Of course not.

This is largely what my getting organized is rooted in. I feel that now, with less clutter, and more ambition, I can and absolutely will bring myself to finish all my half-done stories, novels, etc. (Well, maybe not all, because looking back, some of them really are crap and should be left in the deep, dark, dusty files of my laptop.)

The funny thing is, I’ve done this before. I may have mentioned a teen novel about a young woman who fights to take control of her own life, and seek revenge, that I’ve written. I’m not particularly happy with. It was my first attempt at writing a novel, and the first large project I started on. I had most of the story written, and as I neared the end, I found myself losing momentum. I didnt’ stop to think why, or how it happened, but looking back, I think I became disheartened to see that soon my work would be over, and I would have the laborious task of beginning a new project (which as some of you know is A LOT of work when it comes to a novel, with research and building characters and chosing settings etc.). There was a period of time when I didn’t write at all. My novel sat, collecting dust, and life went on. Then, during a family crisis, I found I needed an outlet. I chose writing because it just felt so expressive. I wrote one short story and put my whole heart and soul into it (it was just a writing exercise in the beginning, but turned into so much more). Looking back at that short story, I can see through the story line to the root of the feelings that kept me writing it. The hardship I was going through at the time has so many correlations to the story, and the underlying issues in my psyche. Writing that story helped me to voice the feelings I couldn’t comprehend or speak aloud. This would  probablymake a lot more sense if I told you what happened, but I respect privacy too much for that. Suffice to say, it was difficult for everyone involved and everyone close to everyone involved, and I am so grateful we made it through. Any way, back to the point of the novel. The short story got me going on writing again. I wrote more and more short stories, and edited and re-edited them. Finally I went back to my teen novel, and found that I’d developed my writing skills to a point where it would be not only easy but enjoyable to finish the story. And that’s just what I did.

In the time since, I’ve decided not to try selling my first completed novel. While the storyline is decent-ish, I suppose, it took me so long to finish it, that when I read through the whole thing, I can recognize the different tones and voices I’d used trying to get it to feel just right. Therefore, it is all over the place. I’ve gone through and spell checked and done some editing, but none of it seems to help the fact that it’s just all over the place. Maybe one day I’ll pull it out and try re-writing it, but for now, it’s staying as it is, where it is.

Basically, my first attempt at a novel turned out somewhat embarrassing. However, I am re-energized and ready to finish my second novel. For the time being, I have decided I will send out the few short stories that I feel are ready for publication, and work on Lashine.

I’ll let you all know when I finish it. Hopefully this time it will be something I can be proud of, and send out to publishers.

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