August 9th, 2012

catie_cute

a story

After the Readercon mess (short version: somebody sexually harassed a woman, she complained, trusting that Readercon’s zero-tolerance policy would be implemented and the guy would be banned for life, it wasn’t, people rightfully got furiously upset, went viral with it, Readercon recognized their mistake, banned the guy, and I believe the entire Readercon board has now resigned in apology), my friends lists have been filled with a lot of discussion about rape and harassment and the problems people deal with day in and day out.

I’ve been lucky, and let us not make any mistake: it’s a sign of a broken culture that I’m lucky to have not experienced much in the way of harassment, but the point is more that I was reminded of an encounter on a bus trip years ago, when I was living in California. I wrote it up at the time, and thought I’d repost it.

There is no particular object lesson to be taken from this, mind you. I just like the story.

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(x-posted from the essential kit)

writing_ishard

rookie mistake

For the past six weeks I’ve been working on starting a new book. Now, it often only *takes* me six weeks to write a book, and although there have been some distractions, taking six weeks to get started is really a bad sign. Usually when I don’t want to work on a new project, it means I’ve done something wrong. I *know* that, so I kept looking at it, trying to figure out what I’d done wrong. I reached 75 pages on the manuscript twice, and the first time, I threw out half of them.

This, the second time, I have realized that the book’s structure is fundamentally broken. I’ve been trying desperately to insert conflict into the story, and it just has not been working. I finally realized it’s because I’ve made things too easy for my main character, right from page one.

From where I’m sitting, that’s a rookie mistake. I haven’t done that since about my fourth published novel, and this is something like the 28th one I’ve written. So yeah, rookie mistake. A really, really aggravating one, too, because it means absolutely everything I’ve written is useless, including my synopsis. I have to throw it *all* out, and start all over again.

And this, my friends, is part of what it is to be a professional writer: looking a complete failure in the eye, tossing it, and starting anew. *mutter*

(x-posted from the essential kit)