(Okay, so it doesn’t exactly suck. Everyone is happy and healthy and I’m almost done with that massive stack of papers on my desk. )
But here’s my whine.
I’m revising my book. I have a plan, fresh ideas, lots of enthusiasm. Chapters 1-3 go great. Alpha-up the hero, work on the heroine’s characterization and motivation, smooth out a couple of issues. No problem. Chapters 4-5 take a bit more effort and nail-biting, but they, too, fall into place.
Chapters 6-12, though, are giving me fits. I’m having to re-plot the whole middle of the book; scenes are being moved around and characters are doing different things. In desperation (or possibly frustration), I wrote each and every scene on an index card—complete with color coding—and I’m shuffling them into different orders to see how it works. (It works in my head; it just isn’t working in the ms.)
Me. The Pantser. Index cards and color coding. The world is askew.
Each time I move something, two other things have to be re-written or re-worked. I feel like I’m trying to juggle spaghetti noodles. Suddenly my book—the one I knew inside and out—has turned into one of those double-sided 3-D puzzles. And, in case you don’t know this about me, I hate puzzles.
Fear has set in (Panic is bringing up the rear guard). What if I can’t do it? What if I’m completely destroying my book—not making it better? What if I think I’ve done it and the editor tells me that, in actuality, I suck? After all, I thought my heroine’s characterization was pretty good to start with—obviously I was mistaken. This editor is going to think I’m a complete loser. I have to get this done fairly quickly to show I’m not a slacker—but what if I can’t write both fast AND good? And so on…
“Poor, poor Problem Child,” you say. “Get a grip. What’s the saying about 'I pitied myself because I had no shoes until I met a man who had no feet?' It’s all about perspective, PC. Waah, waah, sucks to be you.”
(Which is pretty much exactly what DG is telling me these days…)
It is all about perspective. The Mavens told me once that no matter where you were in this business, you just traded one set of problems for another. I agreed (because that’s what you do when the Mavens tell you something), but deep-down I didn’t believe it. Six months ago, I just wanted to get my foot in the door. Maybe have someone (other than you, Mom) tell me I didn’t suck. Okay, now I’ve wedged a toe in that door, and the problems/fears/hopes/needs/ wishes of six months ago have given way to a whole new set.
Seems the Mavens were right. As always.
So, I’m going to take my cheese (Brie sounds nice), and go back to my ms. I have a middle to rearrange. I’m going to remind myself how lucky I am to have this “problem.”
I’m going to open up the comments tail for you to whine. Go ahead, get it off your chest. We’ll have an assortment of cheese available for you as well. But then you have to get on with it—somewhere there’s somebody who would love to have your “problem.”
The “Problem” Child