Neverlution

by LimebirdCat

I often write on Limebird about how I write and what my experiences have been with finding my feet as a writer.

To be honest, I’m still looking for them.

I can write an absolutely huge, all-encompassing swamp of wordage and find, after inspection, it amounted to nought.

Sometimes words can fly from me with devastating fury, as if an outpouring of passion is akin to creativity on a firm and foundational level.

That’s how I approach poetry. To me, poetry is a butterfly captured in a glass jar. A fleeting, tangling, tumultuous emotion that has been dashed down on paper and cannot be altered, lest you lose the emotive spirit of the thing.

No, with prose, it is harder. Abundantly so.

I have been developing about three different novel-length stories for some time and it’s been taking me forever to commit to them. It’s so easy to play out the scenes in my mind’s eye, but to transfer that onto paper? I find myself wanting.

My main novel has warped and changed so much from its original draft, it is now essentially a different story. My main protagonists have changed so much.

Every time I think: aha! I’ve ruddy well got it now! – I haven’t. The evolution of the characters and story is always going to be more frustrating than the joy of the creative process, because it isn’t instant – it takes time. Ideas take time, characters need to bed in a bit inside your brain. You need to live with them for a bit, get used to their shape, their form, their function.

For me though, their evolution is endless. At which part do I demonstrate abandon and just take them as they are, chucking them onto the page as though I were emptying a bag of pebbles into a lake? Carelessly… but effectively?

It seems like a good idea to leave them alone to go round and round the creative carousel in my head for now. One day I shall be brave enough to snatch them from it and run away with them to a dark corner to write about them.

Bravery is something that you associate, in the world of writing, to those who tackle taboo subject matter. You do not necessarily associate it with the most simple, subtle things like knowing when to halt your characters development and just take them as they are.

Bravery is such a huge part of writing. Giving your work up for inspection and criticism by others – that’s very brave. Dealing with negative comments, that’s brave. Tenacity to continue, even after meeting a host of blocked avenues – that’s brave.

Instinctively knowing when a story is right, like taking a sponge cake out of the oven because it has enough spring to its surface – that too is evocative of bravery.

I don’t think I’m brave or even terribly remarkable. I am however, holed up within the realms of a tricky dilemma – keep Nick and Kitty on the carousel or take them off? It’s one of those conundrums that could go on forever.

If you’ve ever felt this, then at least, dear Limebird reader, you are not alone.

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33 Comments to “Neverlution”

  1. I really think you have to be fearless to be a writer!

  2. Anyone can talk about the things they’re good at. I think it takes some guts and, yes, bravery to admit your weaknesses. You are brave, limebirdcat!

    • Awwww…. thank you! I’m very self deprecating. So much so that I sometimes even lose my focus on the stuff that I can actually do at times. It’s ace to find support from other writers, or show others who are like you, that you are not alone on this wibbly wobbly journey x

  3. I think the only way out of it is to set an arbitrary deadline – whatever state of evolution the characters are at by 23rd November, or whatever, you’re just going to go with it. If characters are real and living then they are by definition continually evolving, and therefore they won’t be done until they’re dead!

    Yes, there’s a lot of bravery in writing, mostly in believing yourself to be good enough.

    • I agree Vanessa – I do need to get a deadline in my head. It’s almost like being a bit trapped at times by your own creation. Bit like a Frakenstein’s monster… but heck, it’s fun! x

  4. I love your comment about how it’s easy to play out scenes in your mind’s eye, but transfering them to paper is so much more difficult. I wholeheartedly agree. I think writing takes a lot of bravery and also persistence. And then… perhaps… moving on. I really wonder if some writers would continue “improving” a novel ad infinitum. This may be because we want it to be “perfect,” and nothing is ever truly perfect.

    • You are totally right. Real life is not full of perfection and too few of us realise this fact. I was told once of a custom overseas where carpet makers would intentionally thread into the design a flaw, simply because only God can create perfection. I think that is a very good point – how are we mere mortals to be expected to create perfection and all the time, when probably only celestial beings can do so? Tall ask we give ourselves and it is worth remembering that we’re just people and people are okay (like our characters!!!) to be a bit rubbish at times. x

  5. Funny, I have never considered writing to be a brave profession before; I do see your point, though. Putting your work out there for public scrutiny can be nerve-wracking. For me, critiques don’t get me nervous as much as excited. I love the process.

    It sure can be tough to wrestle a story onto the page. It’s exhausting and there’s no easy solution. For what it’s worth (and it’s not all that much, I’m afraid), I’m rooting for you!

    • Thank you for the support!!!!! Very much appreciated. I think there are so many subtle ways of being brave and those nuances vary in people. Some people’s definition of bravery is being a soldier at war or racing into a burning building to rescue a dog. Sometimes its hard that simply overcoming a fear of being judged or making a mistake is a personal – and very brave – victory. You won’t get streamers and banners in the streets, but you’ve earned yourself a pat on the back 🙂 We each are brave in our own ways. I’m just ruddy well not brave with my work right now 😦 oh bobbins x

  6. Perhaps in such circumstance, one needs to find their inner voice, not to produce the work, but when judging the work. There is drive, the need to push for perfection, but there is also a dissatisfaction from refusing to believe ourselves capable of fashioning words into something evocative and brilliant.

    Before I started creative writing, I began practising Reiki (level two.) I’m not here to advocate for it, but methinks finding something – whatever it might be – what puts a writer in touch with self-trust would do wonders. Or, as a sage apparition kept reminding one of the most beloved characters of our time, ‘Luke, trust your feelings’.

    • Ah, tis but too true to listen to the instincts we writers have. I have so much to get into my head about what I think is right or wrong for the story, that I’m blocking out the good bits therein and focusing on the bad. I shall prevail and thank you for your kind words and thoughts 😀 x

  7. This is totally me. I have three novels going, too, and I’m getting nowhere with them.

    • Tis’ an unhappy circumstance to be all stuck and wanting to the best by your work. My three novels have languished recently and all in the wake of my indecision. You’ll get there though 😉 x

  8. Isn’t character growth one of the signs of a good story? Then you are doing well! Do you know the ending of your story yet? If so, then get your characters there and wherever they are in their growth, that’s where it will end! (Sounds easy but I’ve been there and it took forever for me to finish one novel.) Keep being brave!

    • You make a very, very good point! The characters do indeed evolve – which is a very positive thing! I do know the ending, indeed. I’ll be keeping that all in mind now as I enter the breach once more… thank you x

  9. I’m like you Cat, I get all these wonderful things going in my head, I blab about them to my husband for a week and then try to write it down and flap…blab blip bloop… nothing good comes out. Then I get frustrated and start over and hate it then start over and then before I know it it’s not even the same thing I was blabbering to the hubby about.

    • Oh you’re not wrong there, LBL! My husband generally has a mildly glazed over expression whenever I talk about writing. I generally give him drafts and he reads them. He usually then sighs deeply and says “can I be honest?” and then tells me how much in sucks, but in a very nice way. He then tells me how amazing I am and thus confuses me as to whether I’ve done badly or not! I need to borrow your husband to teach mine how to be a good sounding off board for literary ideas and feedback! x

      • Oh dear that does sound confusing — am I good, am I bad? What’s going on here1? I do love my husband’s feedback but He ALWAYS “likes it” …then I really wonder how honest he is being. So maybe our husband’s can combine!

  10. Yes, Cat, bravery is a huge part of writing. I am like you, I love the creative process so much that it’s hard for me to get ‘serious’ about my story. Meaning, cutting out those Little Darlings, or making final decisions that I can’t undo. I wonder if part of what you’re going through is that although you’re committed to the stories, you haven’t committed to completing the stories. Maybe once you decide you’re ready to complete them (or even just one) and move on, then you’ll be able to move forward effectively.

    • I’m committed to my stories to the point of being almost overprotective and insecure over them. I’ve written 250k words on one, then now after scrutiny, have decided to change the clunky, non-existent plot completely! Definitely for the betterment of the story, but its episodes like that that take the wind out of your sails with writing :/ I think when I know I’ve got there, I can then move on…

  11. I found that by shortening my stories I was able to finish them. You might set aside the novel (it’s not moving right now anyways, right) for a little while and get some shorter pieces done. Not only will you have some interesting shorts to use later on, but it may condition you to run for that finale.

    • I totally agree with this approach, LimeBirdNeeks. I’ve found I’m a much happier writer now I’ve been able to finish some stuff 🙂 I’m just about ready to tackle something bigger now (just in time for NaNoWriMo 2012, hehe)

      • Lordscree, shhhhh! I actually registered for nano this year, for the first time. I may not be able to bring myself to actually GO to the site on Nov. 1st, but it’s a start! Good luck with yours!

  12. I’ve been lost at the writing sea so many times, I’m beginning to believe that it’s an essential part of the journey! 😉

  13. SherriPalmer, you are so totally right. I think I’ve been sort of falling in love with my characters and not really wanting to end things and I didn’t realize it until I read your comment. I think I’ll go try again with the original format of each one and leave them the heck alone! Thanks, Angie.

  14. I’m a tinkerer so find it difficult to draw a line and say that it’s done and complete. We all need that leap of faith to say it is finished and take it to the next stage. Happy writing 🙂

  15. Sometimes it comes down to a pros and cons list. What are the pros of keeping them in your head on that carousel? Do you think you can figure out the whole story in your head? Every book I’ve written has gone through dozens of drafts to reach the point where I can query it. Being brave means giving yourself permission to write badly and fix it later too. 🙂

  16. Cat,
    Thanks for this affirmation; it’s well appreciated right now. 🙂

    Hopefully, you are sorting out your carousel conundrum. 😀

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