Writing Update – Aug. 1, 2017

I had intended to post more frequently. I really did. Then a couple things happened, almost at once. For one, my wife and daughter went to Finland to spend time with my wife’s family, leaving the two boys and I at home. Right after I dropped them off at the airport I had to hurry to work for a meeting in which management announced mandatory overtime for the next month or more to get a project back on track. I now not only had a lot more work to do around home in the evenings, but I had less time in which to do it. Other things had to be put aside in favor of survival, like blogging.

Work on my novel came to an abrupt halt as well, as I opted to work through lunch–my usual writing time–rather than work an extra hour at night. It wasn’t entirely with regret, either. I’ve been struggling with this rewrite. Some of the new approach has been good, but some of it has felt like using my head for a tunnel boring machine. So taking a forced break has been good, because I didn’t even have to feel guilty about not writing. And much to my guilt, I didn’t.

But that’s not to say I haven’t been thinking about my story in the meantime. I’ve been picking things apart in my head, moving them around, and seeing if they fit back together in better ways. In the last few days I’ve been feeling a growing impatience with the status quo; I want to get back to writing so I can clean up the mess I’ve been making. The rewrite has been good. It’s given more depth to a character I’ve long sensed needed it. But at the same time it nearly killed my main character, who was forced into a mold I subconsciously didn’t like. I thought it would be good, but it made him unlikable.

But in my forced exile I’ve reached a compromise I believe will help. I’m going to revert back to my original scenes with him, but give him the new motivations I attempted to create for him in the rewrite. I’ll just do it better, and make it clearer his motivations are good, and not just spiteful. It wasn’t bad, but as I said, it was making him unlikable. His motivations are going to change during his arc anyway, so why not make my main character someone people will want to read about? I’ve never cared much for dark, gritty or angst-ridden characters anyway–I’ll let someone else write them.

My wife and daughter are home now, so my home life has relaxed a little. I’m nearly caught up on the backlog of work around the house, so I may be able to start carving out some writing time in the evenings soon. We’ll see. I do still have more thinking to do on my setting as well. I’ve been challenging my foundation, and decided it could do with a little shake-up. The basic premise is good, but it all needs more fleshing out and spicing up.

But if nothing else I’m encouraged to find the desire to write returning. As I’ve said before, the past year or so have been really difficult for me, to the point of wondering if I should hang it up. But it’s something I can’t easily give up, it seems.

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