Writer Purgatory

You Might Be a Writer IF

– The only thing worse than a book going disastrously wrong is a book going extraordinarily well.

Seriously. Darkship Renegade JUST pours out. So what is taking me so long? I keep stopping and trying to find holes.

This was actually explained to me long ago at the Oregon Writers Workshop. When a book is “right” and your voice for it is “right” you feel like you’re not doing any work at all and therefore it must be wrong.

So, now my greatest trouble is to stop rewriting things to death. What they told me (do I know if it’s true? No I don’t) is that when you’re completely in the voice you don’t think you’re employing any techniques or craft. But the reader will still see it, because it’s still there. It’s just you’re so completely immersed and it is so much YOU that you can’t see it. It would be like stopping in the middle of doing something you do everyday like driving and going “wow, I sure drive well. Look how I took that turn.” Or for me going “Fold that omelet, fold it!”

Yet, for a writer like me who always considered herself a creature of craft, not of art or genius this feeling is enough to drive one insane.

You might also be a writer if

– while you’re writing, the character of the next book in the series seems to loom over your shoulder (yes, I KNOW he’s not really there. I’m not gone as far as physical hallucinations) demanding you get done with this thing because his book IS the good one.

Of course the fact that I’m dealing with Lucius Maximilian Dante (by the grace of… well, not Himself above) Good Man Keeva probably makes it worse.

Note to self – do NOT write homicidal b*stards, even when they’re on the good side and it’s a story of redemption.

So, pity me as I go back to work.

4 thoughts on “Writer Purgatory

  1. That feeling terrifies me, Sarah. It’s always frightening to me when the story is going so well and so fast. I feel like I’m doing something wrong, like you said.


  2. I can’t pity you, because I empathize on pretty much all counts. I’ve never written a novel as quickly as this one and it’s making me really self-conscious about it.

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