Monday, October 11, 2010

Mired in the Middle

Wow, it's been a long time. A really long time, even though, in the universe, a couple weeks isn't that long at all. Whenever I want to freak myself out, I think of the universe and how huge it is and how it's constantly expanding. I wonder what's beyond the universe. Does the universe expand into nothingness, transforming a void into the life of space and stars? Or is the universe nothing? Is it nothing expanding into nothing?

I already have a headache and I think I just made it worse with all of those astronomical, philosophical thoughts. 

This weekend I decided that I'm going to continue working on Gunmetal Gray. I also just read a blog on the Nine Stages of Dating a Novel. Last November, I was in the squee! stage. Then it was the anticipation right before NaNo started. The second week of NaNo '10 was procrastination. Then it was me beating my creativity back into shape for the rest of the two weeks. I was somewhere in between squeeing and shouting expletives at my screen.

I was in the middle, where you just keep going because it's better to keep going than backtrack. It takes just as much energy to backtrack as it does to keep going forward, so there's no point in giving up once you're in the middle.

But I never realized that I've been in the middle ever since NaNo ended. I've procrastinated. I've shouted more expletives at my computer than my main characters know, which is saying something, considering they're marines. Then, come July, I was stolen away from Gunmetal Gray by a new idea: When the Storm Birds Fly. I tried to divide my attention between the two; WtSBF (lol, yay for long abbreviations) was shiny. It was new. It was gentler than GG. There was only a moderate amount of character death. A moderate amount of research to be done.

It was a hell of a lot easier to write than GG, but my heart wasn't in it.

I had an emotional affair with another novel. It's like when people go on Dr. Phil claiming that their email affairs aren't real affairs because no one screws anyone out of wedlock. But I removed myself emotionally from my story. I was writing, yeah, and it was alright. The grammar was correct, the spelling wasn't so bad, the plot didn't have too many holes that I couldn't patch over. The characters weren't terrible, either.

But it was never alone. I could always feel the characters of Gunmetal Gray waiting for me. Patiently. Lee and Cam, Todd and Ben, it didn't matter what I called them; they're still the same guys that I see in my head, doing the same things, living the same lives. Come midnight on Halloween this year, I'll have lived with them for a year. The idea behind them, though, is much older than that, at least by six months. 

When Neil Gaiman wrote a pep talk for NaNo a few years ago, he mentioned calling up his agent and begging her to let him quit his current project. I don't remember which project it was and I'm too lazy to look it up, but he hated his characters. He thought his plot would never hold water. It would never sell. And the only thing his agent said was, "Oh, you're in that place again?" 

I'm still in that place.

I'm still in the middle.

Gunmetal Gray and I, we have a history. We have emotions. We've got our problems, yeah, but we've worked through them before and we're stronger for it. I'm about to update my Novel Info on my NaNo profile with the cover I made for GG last year. I'm going to put up an excerpt from the prologue. And I'm going to write a goddamn synopsis of what I know my story to be as of right now, because I'm sure it's going to keep changing, just like it always does.

And I can't wait for it when it does.

1 comment:

  1. This analogy. It wins.

    This sounds like my love/hate affair with my '08 NaNo novel. It was a modified idea culled from a failed project years before and for two years since, I've been procrastinating its editing/completion. The characters have been muttering in my head for nigh on five years now. It's one of the foundations of my writing. I just need to get my butt back in gear and write a second draft, fixing everything that I know is wrong with it.