Thursday, February 01, 2018

Sailing Venus: A sorry state of affairs

When last I reported in, prior to World Fantasy, I had this silly notion that I would maintain or even increase my word production.

Fat chance.

Life threw me some curve balls following a positive World Fantasy. Mentally, my head just wasn't in a good place to write, as the trendy kids say. I spent a significant amount of time staring at a blank screen before realizing that wasn't doing me or the novel any good, and got up to occupy myself in other ways. Thus, December and most of January passed with little writing done at all. That's two months. Even at my notoriously slow rate of writing, I'd be damn near finished with the book. Had I, you know, actually done writing during that period. sigh

On the bright side, my writing group has started up again, lighting a fire under me to produce more pages lest the shame of not having anything to critique blight my otherwise sterling reputation. And guess what? Chapter 13, which gave me all manner of fits during its writing, prompting several rewrites and despair of ever getting beyond it, was met with universal approval. Sure, there were specific, discrete issues scattered here and there that need fixing, but one person said, "This chapter is Sailing Venus. This is everything the book is about." It probably helped that I made some architectural changes between Chapters 12 and 13 that helped focus the narrative and better define some character moments, but still. Pretty heady stuff for a writer constantly battling Imposter Syndrome.

The downside to having a great workshop meeting is the fact that I have to follow it up. And Chapter 14 is proving to be far, far more obstinate than 13 ever dreamed of being. It's very clunky. I have to get from Point A at the beginning to Point B at the end, but the narrative wants to wander off down all manner of blind alleys. I'm rewriting more than I'd like. I'm spending an hour coaxing out a single sentence. I'm not convinced it's working. At all. Still, amidst all the dross, there are a few bits that give me hope. We're finally getting Sigfried back up to speed, sort of, and his particular voice adds a certain kind of pep to every scene he's in. A sample from last night:

Sigfried puffed up. "All domestic cat model lines are Class 3A, except for Maine Coons, and those're discontinued. Now me, I'm Class 4C, which, I don't have to tell you, is clearly superior. Now, 38-centimeter beagles are Class 4B, but that's just a reflection of mass, not quality--"

"Do you remember Monkey C. Doo?"

Sigfried grimaced. "Not if I can help it."

"What's he?"

"I'm not sure. Four-something."

Erica raised an eyebrow.

"He's 4B. Class 4B. Are you happy? And that's not a reflection of quality, it's a reflection of mass. That's all, nothing more."
Now Playing: Dire Straits Alchemy
Chicken Ranch Central

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