Friday, March 02, 2007

Can I write?

After selling (for pennies a word; don't get excited; I'm just a little bee) over 500,000 words, I still have days where I stare at the page and wonder if I know how to write.

I swear to God.

Not how to write well.  Just how to write a sentence at all.  A chapter?  Hah!  Yeah, right!

When I first start a novella, the story comes to me in disjointed little snippets, like little sparks firing off here and there. 

I write half of them down as quickly as I can forget the other half, and then I look at the mess I've made.  I attempt to organize into chapters, and then I attempt to write sentences that tell the story in a smooth flow.

But after two days of sparks igniting only fragments, I step back and wonder if I've lost this thing I thought I had.  I wonder if I will ever be able to write again.  I wonder if this is it, if this is when I lose it, when I learn that I'm not really a writer.

And then I tell myself to shut up and just write. 

Maybe I just can't do story and writing at the same time.  Maybe I just need to make a mess and then write.

I spent most of the day reading a book--a whole book!!--, thanks to Mark Terry.  He interviewed Tim Macleeny today, and I was intrigued by his female ninja assassin in Stealing the Dragon.  I'm a sucker for female ninja assassins.  ;-)

10 bonus scribbles:

meljean brook 3/03/2007 12:35:00 AM  

That cover ... I think I'm in love. As I'm also a sucker for female ninja assassins (why aren't there more??) I will also have to check it out.

I can do story without writing, but it's very hard for me. Most of it comes out of the way the words are going -- like, I have a good idea of where the story will head, and a rough outline, but the scenes I really have no idea until they start going.

meljean brook 3/03/2007 12:36:00 AM  

Sigh. Sorry about the retardedness of that post, and multiple uses of "going". It's been a long day.

spyscribbler 3/03/2007 01:30:00 AM  

LOL ... if only you knew how many times I hit send on a comment and think to myself, "these people are never going to believe that I can write!"

Heck, half the time I don't believe it, either.

And hey, I didn't notice the "going" thing. :-) The cover is awesome, isn't it? It was very good.

Stewart Sternberg 3/03/2007 09:41:00 AM  

Welcome to the Stewart Sternberg School of Self-Doubt and Self-Inflicted Torture. Our alumni have prepared quite a feast in your honor, but you'll not be allowed a taste, because all the misery starts now!

I know I'm a good writer. I tell myself that enough. But I suck at marketing.

That aside, buck up. What you and I really need is a virtual Mr. Miyagi (you know, the old guy from "Karate Kid"). He could smack us alongside the head and give us meaningless tasks to perform while at the same time teaching us the magic of magnificent writing.

Bernita 3/03/2007 09:54:00 AM  

"the story comes to me in disjointed little snippets, like little sparks firing off here and there."
You, too?

Edie 3/03/2007 10:52:00 AM  

Another self-doubter waving her hand. When it happens, I remind myself that Nora Roberts calls her first drafts pos -- a pile of shit. And then I thank God for my CPs. When I screw up a sentence, they catch it. Just as I do for them.

Kate S 3/03/2007 12:58:00 PM  

Where do I enroll in Stewart's school? And can I sit next to Spy and Edie?

spyscribbler 3/03/2007 05:03:00 PM  

LOLOL, Stewart! I absolutely adored Mr. Miyagi. I wanted a Mr. Miyagi. He's awesome!

Bernita, so glad to know I'm not alone!

Edie, that's a good reminder. Even the Nora writes piles of shit. I love it! She sure cleans them up well!

Oh yes, Kate, please! It'll be fun!

Tim Maleeny,  3/05/2007 01:50:00 PM  

We could all use a daily dose of Miyagi. As for the dearth of female ninja assassins, I believe we all need to do our part to get them back in the public eye. They're out there, just waiting for us to tell their stories.

spyscribbler 3/06/2007 02:42:00 PM  

Oh yes, Tim. Definitely! I'm looking forward to your next release in ... October? November? I'll have my eye out, anyway!