Jeff Seymour - Author of Fantasy, Literary Fiction, & c.: Research. Also Being Rusty.

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Monday, March 31, 2014

Research. Also Being Rusty.

Tonight I'm researching things I'd rather not have to research because I wish they didn't exist. There's a scene in Soulwoven: Exile that was very difficult to write, and that it's extremely important to me not to get wrong. So. Research. Dark Things. Frightening Things. A whole mess of unpleasantness that taps my pysche in all kinds of unsettling ways.

And it's Monday, and that's one of the days I blog now, and I don't really have anything else to talk about.

Oh! Except being rusty. Good. Let's focus on that because it's less of a bear to write about without spoiling. Also, it's a happier subject.

This morning I finished making revision notes on Soulwoven: Exile and started revising. At the end, actually. Because one of the great tricks of a good novel is the way the end wraps around to the beginning, and the end wasn't working quite right. I need to nail it down before I go back to the beginning and make sure the circle closes.

It's been a month and half since I wrote anything new, and man, am I rusty.

Returning to writing after a layoff is always a little bit terrifying. I'm never sure whether it's going to come back, or whether I'm just going to keep on sucking as much as I do for the first however-many-hours-it-takes-to-get-out-the-kinks. Inevitably, it comes back, and then I get better. Thank God.

But right now, I feel like a shadow of the writer who finished Soulwoven. And having spent most of the last month and a half staring at the pages of Soulwoven, I'm not sure how I'm ever going to achieve that level of polish again.

I will. I'm quite certain of it, because that's how this whole thing works. You just keep spitting and polishing and spitting and polishing until it shines. And the thing that is Soulwoven: Exile lying underneath the grime of I-haven't-polished-this-yet is going to be beautiful. It's better than Soulwoven. It may even be much better than Soulwoven. The final paragraph (which only became the final paragraph this morning, after I snipped off some extraneous bits) gave me shivers. I will get the rest of it to look like that too eventually.

But in the meantime, I'm scared. And that's normal. And I say that because I don't think there's anyone in my life who isn't scared about their career sometime, no matter how good they are at it. And if you're reading this, there's a reasonable chance you think I do a decent job as a writer. Maybe if I'm honest about how terrified I am of sucking sometimes you'll think of it someday when it can help you.

And that would be wonderful.

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