Monday, 22 November 2010

Would I finish it?

My manuscript, that is.  I'm currently reading Anne Lamott's Bird by Bird.  One chapter is all about sh**** first drafts (yes that's really how the author called it in her book) .  I've just finished my sh*** first draft and now working on the second draft.  The first time, after more than 3 weeks of 'hiding' it in my drawer, I've had a look at it, I couldn't make myself to read it.  It felt like I've wasted months and months of hardwork.  I've written rubbish.  There's no story at all, just a collection of senseless chapters!  I wonder if all writers feel this way?

Tonight, I was sat in the loo -LOL! yes, of all places, that's where my characters haunt me, when I try to concentrate to read something or file my nails - so there I was, thinking and saying to myself  'No way I'm ever going to finish this story!  No way! Then I saw his lovely face in my head.  Yes, my main character who is an eleven year old boy.  I'm not kidding you - I could see his beautiful blue imagination could be frightening my characters become alive in my mind.  And earnestly, he asked, 'Don't you want them to know about me? Don't you want to tell them my story?'

It's weird but I had goosebumps on the back of my head.  Then I thought of the film, The Neverending Story, where the characters in the book are dying.  The only thing that can keep them alive are the children reading their story.  Without them, the story doesn't exist. 

In my weird 'vision' in the loo, it was as if my main character was telling me that if I don't write about him, he'll die.  He will never exist. Oh, God.

So I replied (in whispers of course, or my husband who was in the living room would definitely come to a conclusion that I still talk to myself in the mirror - this time in the loo!) Okay, then, I will finish your story.  I will write about you.  I will tell them your story.

And now, I'm back to work.  Yes, doing the second draft.  I hope this comes out good, that in the end it will not be as sh****, help me, God!

How about you?  Have you ever felt this way?  Like your story is going nowhere?  Did you feel like what you've written was all rubbish? 


Lou said...

Right there with you, esp with this NaNoWriMo thing where you're throwing the story onto the page..... Only my pride at not giving in keeps me typing, for I fear the standard of my craft may be questionable in the volume vs literary validation debate.

Theresa Milstein said...

We've all been there. Well, maybe not in the loo. We're supposed to get distance from our draft and see the flaws. Otherwise how would we improve? And then we have to have a glimmer of hope.

I wish your luck telling that boy's story.

Jen Daiker said...

You're not a writer if you haven't felt shitty at least once about something you've written. Heck I heard good news today but before that I was talking about how crappy I felt about writing. There are moments where it sucks and moments where the light shines down on you! Hang in there! I have faith in you!

Len said...

Lou, Theresa and Jen - thanks so much. I feel better already! :)

Melissa Sarno said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog Len. I feel like this all the time and I dread going back to fix everything. Usually, I let the manuscript sit for a while and then go back to edit, when I'm able to come back to it with a fresh eye. Sometimes I realize, 'hey, some of this is not so bad...' And I definitely understand how characters can haunt you and be very persistent. I've had a lot of characters tell me to write their story for them.

Loren Chase said...

If I expected my first draft to be my final draft I would end up crying all alone in front of my laptop wondering where it all went wrong. Maybe a little dramatic... But I'm definitely learning to keep going even if I feel like it's all for naught. I get into this mindset every time I write and I'm still trying to find ways around it. (This book really inspired me to keep going when I first read it.)

Elaine AM Smith said...

I swing between loving and hating the work all the time. Sometimes in the same hour. Good luck with your editing. Generally the advice is don't talk to the visions: they might want to pop around for tea.;)

Old Kitty said...

Awwww you should go to the loo more often!! LOL!!!

You've got your first draft all wrapped up - well done you!!! Now just go for it!! :-) Take care

Christine Danek said...

Oh yeah. Currently, this thought goes around my head because I feel like I'm just re-writing the whole stinkin' thing. The characters are what keep me going. They speak to me like your MC did--they usually come to me when I'm in the shower. Weird. Anyway, I think it's all part of the process. Good luck and keep writing.

Angela Felsted said...

I love writing. It's the only profession where adults are allowed, no, encouraged to have imaginary friends.

The Golden Eagle said...

I've had moments like that, where everything seems so . . . pointless that I almost gave up. And then I suddenly got a little piece of inspiration . . . and then back again.

Good luck with your manuscript!

Loree said...

I always feel that what I write is rubbish but when time passes and I read it again - then I love it.

Jessica Hill said...

I feel that way all the time. I'm always worried about what I've written, that it isn't good enough, or that it just doesn't make sense.

Good luck on your second draft!

L'Aussie said...

My last comment seemed to disappear into the cyber world. Just in case it turns up I'll keep it short.

We all go through this Len, especially those of us doing NaNo. We keep soldiering on, loving bits and hating others, but there will come a time that it will be tweaked into shape.

Keep on with the edits..:)

Lisha @ DeLovely Life said...

Bravo on having the courage to even read what you've written. I'm the same way. And you must tell his story. Go forth and write! Now if only I could write my story.

Len said...

Thanks guys. I've put the manuscript away for awhile so I could clear my head and 'switch' my editing mode on. I've written a satisfying first chapter to replace the stinking old one though :))) Thank you!!! You've all been helpful and you all encourage me to keep writing.

Rachael Harrie said...

Hey Len, look on it as a sign - just by recognizing it's not the most polished MS in the world, you're ahead of so many others who query on the first draft. Great to hear inspiration hit you (I have similar moments in the shower sometimes!) :)

I replied to your message in my post BTW, if you didn't see it :)


Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Len .. great to meet you & thanks for coming over to my blog .. whereabouts in the UK are you? I'm down south in Eastbourne.

Love how you've expressed the bringing to life your character - he does seem alive and needs to be so .. I heard the expression before - but not seen it expressed quite like that! My stroked mother for whom my blog is for .. has lots of 'friends' she talks to, who are with her - recently not so much .. but I'm sure they're still there: another facet to a stroked mind .. bring them to life.

Thanks - interesting .. have a good rest of the week .. Hilary

Adina West said...

The first draft is just the beginning. Clarity will come - on the loo or elsewhere! Good luck with the redrafting.


Talli Roland said...

Oh, Len. I know this feeling SOOOO well - it usually creeps in quite a few times during the writing process, where I wonder if I'm just wasting my time; if my efforts are laughable... I could go on and on and on but I won't! And speaking to well known, established writers with over 20 books published now, apparently it doesn't get any easier! Just know you're not alone!

Jules said...

LOL, I have my greatest thoughts and conversations with characters in the shower. :)

I should buy some of that waterproof paper, I know!

Sorry just found you hiding in my followers and wanted to pop over and say "So sorry I missed you." It will not happen again. I'm following back now. :D
Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

Anonymous said...

I used to talk to the mirror a lot when I was young! I'm 70, and still talk to myself. I try to be careful so I don't embarrass myself when I'm in public!!!

I see that you signed in as a follower on my blog, probably a week ago. So I'm finally here to meet you! Glad I came over!!

I always look back on what I've written and wonder how I ever thought it was a finished draft!! Writing good, lean prose just isn't easy!!!

Keep writing. You're a good writer, as I can tell from this post!!!

Len said...

@Rachael - Thanks so much! I've got your email now. I've gone back to your blog and read your message! Yes, please count me in, Rach!

@Hillary - I love your blog! :) I do talk to my characters in my head and I also write an interview with each one of them and surprisingly, the thoughts and ideas flow when I do this! :)

@Adina - thank you for dropping by!

@Talli - I will always keep in mind what you said to me before - 'just keep writing.'

@Jules - No worries! I'm glad you found me! Nice to meet you! :)

@Ann - Thanks so much for the lovely words. They mean a lot. :)