Tuesday, December 18, 2007

When Neuroses Collide

My deadline for PPR is under a month away, and I still have to write a 2-3 page synopsis and introductory letter in addition to finishing the revisions. And an entire week of the upcoming month is going to be "lost" to the holidays. (I say "lost" because it's not like I mind spending time with the in-laws and family, it's just that I won't have that time to write and must accomodate that in my writing schedule.)

Welcome to Kellie's Crunch Time Neuroticisms. Surely you remember them from before? Here's the pattern they follow:

1. Early in revisions, start thinking that my story is pure gold and that it will launch my writing career in many improbable ways, but launch it nonetheless.

2. Shortly thereafter, I fear the launching of my writing career and suffer a hit in productivity levels, crooning to the whimpering parts of myself that really, change is good, particularly this change, it'll be all right, you'll just keep writing only you'll get paid and isn't that what you've always wanted.

3. Revisions resume with a vengeance, if only to keep the beautiful and terrible images of success at bay one night at a time.

4. Approach the middle or end of revisions and suddenly become aware of the Vast Quantities of Suck in the manuscript. There's no arc! There's no conflict! My characters are stooopid! Logic took a vacation in this chapter and that one! The climax is broken!

5. Progress grinds to a halt as I curl into the fetal position and wonder just how in the hell I ever could have considered myself a writer.

6. Mark, utterly perplexed by the sudden morph of one insanity into another that seems so opposite that he cannot comprehend how my brain can possibly contain both at the same time, gives me a look.

7. My muse, realizing that her writer will not have any company in her misery, mutters, "Oh. Just. Hell," and starts trying to find the narrative thread and the pieces that work and sits down to stitch something together, by God.

8. I am somehow able to view the Suck without wanting to burn the manuscript, instead looking at how it can be adjusted into NotSuck for a killer story.

9. I resume revisions, knowing the story is gold that will get me in the door...assuming I can hack it together out of the junk in front of me.

I am somewhat nervous to find myself in this same pattern again because, you might recall, when I went back to the manuscript that jerked me around like this before, I realized that the work in question was not just bad but horribly broken, and I had tried to get it published in that state. I've been trying to bolster my confidence by outlining just how much I've learned in the past year and a half, how I've got such a better grip on this story and what it needs to get fixed. I understand so much more about how I write and can find the potholes quicker and know how to fill them.

Or not. Ask me what I think about this story in 6-10 months.

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