Sarah Avery (dr_pretentious) wrote,
Sarah Avery

One Step Back, Many Steps Forward?

The strangest thing has been happening. I seem to have taken a break from writing.

This hasn't happened May 2003.

For most of the past week, the only writing I've been doing has been extensive annotation in the margins of the book I'm reading to prepare for the next drafting pass on Traitor of Imlen. It's indisputably a writing-related task, and it's absolutely necessary if I want my little prequel not to suck, but it doesn't feel like real work. Odd that it doesn't, since in my other life, research was half of my job.

Anyhow, yesterday I really started to feel like I was losing my mind from not producing pages. My thinking on Traitor of Imlen is simply not at the writing stage right now.

Here's what my self-doubt has to say about today's work:
I did the unthinkable. I spent today working on Big Book, Volume 2. It's not dumb enough that I wrote an unpublishably large book, or that it's the start of a series of unpublishably large books. No, I have to interrupt work on a publishably small book to work, not even on the first excessively large volume, but on its excessively large sequel.

Wow. That must be the post-bookum depression talking. I wondered whether the novella was important enough to me to set it off. Looks like the answer is yes.

Last night, it really bothered me to think that the minor character who was in jail in the last scene I wrote of the Big Book before I split it in half was still in jail. In my very first lj post, I announced to my lj-addicted friends that I had to drop forward progress on the storytelling to try to pull the first volume into publishable condition. At the end of a spoilery catalog of awkward positions in which my characters were now frozen for the duration, I said:

Ateket is still in jail, suffering drug withdrawal. It's Ateket I feel worst for, really, because at this point I've left him in solitary confinement in a windowless cell since July. Yes, I know how it all ends, but you deserve to see it. Actually, you deserve to see it more clearly than I've yet shown it to you. Hang on. It's coming.

He's only supposed to spend about a month in jail, Beltresin time. In writing time, he's been in solitary confinement for 20 months. The overpowering feeling came over me that I was not going to be able to write anything worthwhile until I got that poor boy out of prison. So today, I reread the last few chapters I roughed out for Vol 2. I was surprised at how much I still like them. Tonight, I'm sending Ateket home, dammit.

Then, if I have to spend another year or two on the short Stisele prequel, I won't feel nearly so bad about neglecting the characters in the Big Book.

In entirely unrelated news, sporos has just started up his new blog. Those of you who've been reading mine since the beginning may remember him from this post, in which I describe his habit of titling all his first drafts, "Bite Me: I Rule." Those of you who were at the Bad Poetry Party may remember the stupendously awful poem about he sent for me to read, since he couldn't attend this year. The one called "Ode to Sven, My Pet Glacier, Being a Reminiscence upon the Time before the Great Melting Took My Veray True and Goode Companion, Who Was Named after My Nephew's Newt." It is both the best and the worst poem I have ever read on the subject of defrosting one's freezer. His opening lj post, however, is lovely. So go bite him. He rules.
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