Getting my authorial butt kicked

So, this story I’m writing for Children of the Vortex is kicking my authorial butt. Viciously. Repeatedly. And, thus far, successfully.

Not that I’m not used to getting my authorial butt kicked by a story, mind you. Most anything I’ve ever written has done it at least once.

Some writers will call this “writer’s block”, but I don’t. I’ve had writer’s block. It’s a horrible sensation where the creative side of my mind is completely dammed up with–something–and I have absolutely no creative inclinations whatsoever. The very idea of being creative can get physically painful. The only time I suffered from it, it lasted nearly six months before the pressure behind the dam broke–and I’m still not certain how–and I had a creative mind again.

This is nothing like that. This is standard “I have no frigging idea what to do here”. It hits at various points for me. Many times, I’ve got the scene clear in my head and I can’t find the right words, or the right entry into the scene, or sometimes I’ve got a lot of words but no scene. This time, I’ve got about 10,000 words and they all make good scenes–however the scenes aren’t tying together to make a single story.

So, I did the logical thing–break the story arcs into separate stories. Except it didn’t work. The actions and events of the scenes are so intertwined, that if I separate them out, each story reads more like a patchwork than the original does. Either that or I rewrite or copy pivotal scenes into each story, and that just seems highly redundant. I don’t want people feeling like they’ve just read this before, y’know? Not a good thing.

Which leaves me with a single story with four major character arcs, that the only thing they really have in common is that it’s all happening to people at the same time, in roughly the same place. I’ve come to the conclusion that what I’m missing is the common theme, something emotional or moral that ties all these things together for these people. And, of course, I’m not coming up with that easily, y’know. Heh. Once I do, I know there’s rewrites to bring someone’s inner journey, maybe everyone’s, more in line with the theme, but that’s standard second draft work.

And, yes, all of this is part of the normal writing process. It’s frustrating, but I always get through it, however long it takes. It’s part of the challenge of getting story into a form others can enjoy. Believe it or not, I actually enjoy the challenge. Well, I enjoy conquering the challenge. Getting through the challenge is frustrating as all get out, but once I’m through it, it’s really satisfying.

My mantra for this period of writing comes from Sir Winston Churchill: “If you find yourself going through Hell, keep going.”

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