Friday, April 28, 2006

Europa, she is done

It is finished. The story currently titled Europa, Deep and Cold, which I've been working on for maybe three years now--and thinking about and gathering research materials on for probably twice as long--is wholly and completely rewritten and exists in final form.

Yesterday's post about the upcoming World Fantasy Con shamed me. My production of late has been awful. Counting the physical/emotional aversion I developed toward writing late last year and the pressures on my time due to Orion's birth, well, I haven't been productive at all. I've done some work here and there on my second interview collection, script work, some short story stuff and a bit on the languishing novel. But Europa was the proverbial elephant in the living room. It'd gone through Turkey City and gotten qualified praise. It was the most ambitious thing I'd ever attempted to write. The rewrite was a massive undertaking. And I was avoiding with all my might the prospect of finishing the task.

So last night I confronted myself and said I wouldn't make any meaningful progress on any other project until Europa was out of the way. So I sat myself down and wouldn't let me get up until it was done. Period. No excuses.

That's not as impressive a line in the sand as it sounds. Maybe 95 percent of the rewrite had already been finished. But there was one passage that opened the story that was giving me a hell of a hard time. It was originally a transition from the midpoint of the piece, which got moved to the beginning when I restructured everything. The section borders on poetic, with lots of metaphor and convoluted language. Honestly, I'd never been entirely comfortable with that section. It's not my normal style of writing, and I thought it disrupted the flow of the story. But it was universally praised at Turkey City, and my peers thought it worked well in that context.

It wasn't working as the story opening, though. Set an entirely wrong tone for the following story. I struggled and fought, and at one point cut it entirely. That didn't feel right, because who gets rid of the one section that readers like the most? Then it hit me--it worked best as a transition in the middle of the tale, so why not move it back to the middle? Wham! Just like that, everything fell into place. I found the perfect spot--which coincidentally needed a more elaborate transition, because of Big Things happening--and just like that, the rewrite was complete.

It should've been completed two years ago. I know that. Eileen Gunn asks me every time I see her if I've finished it yet. Lots of people know about it, and ask if it's been published. I didn't finish it in a timely manner, I think, because I really stretch myself in it. I go out on a limb, and I don't like the idea of that much effort generating rejection. And if it does sell somewhere, it's doubtful I could follow up with another hard science fiction piece, because that's not something that comes easy. Fear of failure, fear of success. How's that for a Dr. Phil moment? But the beast is finished, rewrites complete and it's ready to be sent to Analog.

The punchline to this story is that after all that internal angst and creative struggle, my printer refused to print at midnight last night. Talk about anti-climactic...

Now Playing: Berlin Best of Berlin 1979-1988

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