The Black Lagoon

That’s what it feels like to a writer in the middle of a slump. It’s a black lagoon of misery, self-loathing, bewilderment and paranoia. It’s a place where all the creativity is sucked out, making it difficult to even want to think about the story let alone work on it. I’ve been here for two weeks (perhaps a little over) and I’m glad to say I’m starting to pull myself out of it now. It wasn’t anything I did; I just got a “ping!” of a story idea and I wrote it down frantically. It wasn’t terribly good but it had potential to be great with a lot of work and I could see it, I could see the spark.

creature1I’ve never flailed before. I’ve never struggled with a story before. But Weather Girl made me struggle, and I didn’t like the story, and it was right in the middle of Camp NaNo. The problem? I had an idea and a premise, but no plot.

I made excuses for myself: I probably need a break, I’ve just finished writing a book, I have book two to write next, I have loads of things that still need doing, I have to put out my newsletter (still do) and I need a story for that, I’m busy with my family life, I have two kittens that are distracting me from writing, and I’m playing Sims 4.

BTW: What a freaking waste of time that game is. What a terrible, horrible distraction that game is. I like to build houses in it and decorate them, I like to design the simulation of my book characters. There’s a #FemmeNovel roomies group based on the characters from that book. If it wasn’t Sims 4 it would be Civilisation V. If it wasn’t Civilisation V it would be another game. I could no longer enjoy these games because I identified them for what they were: Conscious Distractions. I was making the effort to avoid writing. Why? I think I was scared I would write nothing but crap.

I feel like Femme is a three star book, mostly because of the kind of story it is. I don’t feel like romance books are deserving of more stars. Snobby, much? Totally. Unreasonable? Probably. But I also feel like I could do a better job writing it now–that there was a lot of emotions that I implied and I never explored, creature2and it’s only been a year since I wrote it. The thing is, AT THE TIME it was the best work I could do, and people seem to love it. It’s got a much higher rating on Amazon and Goodreads than I would personally give it. I know I’m being perhaps too hard on it, but if I don’t challenge myself, if I don’t try for better, then where does that leave me?

I worry that I’ll end up feeling the same about Wanderer of Worlds, the series. I hadn’t heard from the Beta Readers in weeks and weeks, but now the feedback is starting to come in and my fears have been squashed, thankfully. So far the feedback is that they really enjoy it and have given me reasons why. Hearing back from the betas couldn’t have come at a better time; just as I’m starting to come out of the Black Lagoon of writer negativity.

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4 thoughts on “The Black Lagoon

  1. I feel like Femme is a three star book, mostly because of the kind of story it is. I don’t feel like romance books are deserving of more stars.

    I believe that romance stories need not necessarily always rate only three stars. It’s all in the intensity of the romance and how the romance is eventually treated. All romances are temporary and they all end in one way or another – circumstances beyond one’s control that make dissolution of the romance necessary; one of the principals has a change of heart and moves on; one of the principals dies, etc. – however they end, eventually, they do all end. Romance has even left grandma and grandpa, sitting across the kitchen table from one another after 50 years of marriage. Sure, familial love remains, but the romance left them a long time ago.

    Many romance stories end with the couples making up after a misunderstanding or finding one another after a long separation. However, in reality, life doesn’t end there–it goes on and on, until such time that the romance does end.

    It seems the really great romantic stories, e.g., Romeo and Juliet, A Farewell to Arms, all balance the romantic aspects of the story with that burden of fear that all of us real-life characters, who have ever been involved in a romance, have always had–the fear of the inevitable end of that romance.

    ~Manfred

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your words, that’s true enough. I certainly appreciate the depth of feeling romance writers can summon–I’m not saying they’re not talented, because they certainly are, I admit I have a bias against “pure romance” stories. I don’t feel like a single facet (like exploring a relationship) is enough for a novel. I don’t think R&J apply to a ‘single facet’.

      I appreciate your point of view–I believe I’m not in the target audience for romance reading and I believe that speaks to my attitude.

      Like

  2. I’m pleased to hear you’re coming out of it. I’ve been in one of those slumps before, when suddenly motivation is lost and I can’t quite make anything out of any of the ideas I have. There are ideas and concepts floating around in my head but when I try to pin them down they evaporate – and in my darkest moments I’ve wondered, will I ever write anything vaguely good or substantial again?

    And yes, it’s peculiarly painful when you realise you’re avoiding writing by deliberately spending time on something else instead. I mean, writers are meant love writing, right? It’s supposed to be our lifeblood, part of who we are. But it’s also work, and we’ve all got a lazy streak inside us (mine’s about a mile wide) especially when things get tough. And think of other things that are also precious to us, like our relationships – do we always do our best in those, or devote enough time to them? No, but they’re still vital to us.

    So keep going, you’ll get there. You’re critical and reflective about your work, which is also a great thing in a writer, even though we’d all be so much jollier if we could delude ourselves into believing that we and everything we write is completely wonderful.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words. I like to think of myself and critical and reflective about my writing, but I’m realistic to know I’ve got the blinders on. As much as I want to see every flaw and where I can improve, I just can’t. This is why I throw my stuff at my peers for valuation. Perhaps when I look at my work I should pretend someone else wrote it?

      No book is perfect–it’s art. “I know what I like” does apply to us and our readers. Something that is well-written or poorly-written is obvious; I’m one of those people who would prefer to read an okay-story well-written than a fantastic story poorly-written. I know there are those out there who like it the other way around.

      Hmn, I think there’s a blog post in that preference…

      Liked by 1 person

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