Monday, November 14, 2011

I Hate You! Don't Leave Me!

Writerly Angsty Post

I hate my NaNoWriMo book. I hate my main character. I thought we had something good going, but it seems that the fantasy of it was way far from the reality. This book snores, it leaves its socks on the floor, it leaves the toilet seat up and will not take out the trash. As a crush, this book is awesome. As a boyfriend, it sucks.

You might wonder about this relationship metaphor. To me, writing is like that. You see this shiny new idea across a crowded room, it winks at you and you're hooked. You flirt, you get its number and go on that first date. It's wonderful, you hit it off and then the honeymoon begins. You sit down and start writing. Page one, page ten, the words are flying from your mind through your fingers and you think that this is the ONE! All other books and attempts at writing pale in comparison to this new genius. You become absorbed in it. You wake up thinking about your character. You dream about him.

Chapters pass. You might be into this for more than a casual fling. There are serious emotions involved. You have a song. A favorite restaurant. You're getting to know this character's ins and outs. Good points and bad ones. But the bad ones just make him/her charming.

Until the bad ones start overshadowing the good ones. And you start to wonder if this one will be like all the others. Floundering around in the middle of the damn book, you hate it when your character doesn't show up. You want to scream at him/her, you want to tell this character to get with it. But you don't. Because you don't want to force this character into doing something that would be uncharacteristic.

Because then your story will derail. Your character will leave you. Like a bad boyfriend, it will walk out and not even leave you a note. Maybe you'll get a text when you're sitting in your bathrobe listening to "your song" on repeat and working your way through a pint of Ben and Jerrys with take-out chopsticks from the restaurant you and your character loved.

My book and I are in this middle phase. I am wondering why in the hell I thought this was such a good idea. How could I have been so misled? Because the shiny new idea and the finished novel are miles apart. I cringe when I think of opening the file. My lagging word count taunts me. But when I get going, and muscle through the bad bits, it's actually enjoyable. It's tough. God, I just want to ditch the thing and consume a tube of cookie dough.

Perhaps I am being dramatic, but for some reason, this book I am writing feels like a battle. Not just a NaNoWriMo project. The chance to find out if I really need to be doing this writing thing. Should I keep going or consign myself to the nunnery of writing. A celibacy of words.

Maybe there's too much pressure. Perhaps I should stop looking at the long haul and enjoy the ride. Find out what about this character and this book idea attracted me in the first place. If we get to 50K, great! If not, that's ok, too.

If not, maybe we can just be friends.


  1. Sheri, that first paragraph is pure gold. What a great metaphor!