Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Hard Work and Rivers

Sometimes I wonder if life is a big river, and we're just riding the current.

I paddle so hard and fast sometimes, I'm worn out and exhausted. And why? Because even when I stop paddling, the current keeps taking me downstream exactly where I want to go.

All my paddling can't push my boat any faster than the current is already sweeping me.

So why do we wear ourselves out? Why do we stress and strive and work so hard?

Is it because we're impatient? Because we don't trust that we'll get there? Or because we fear we won't?

If there's a bend in the river, it's not like we can bend it in a different direction.

And if the river's already rushing at 50 miles an hour, what's the point in paddling? I can't paddle faster than 50 mph, so I'm just wasting effort. All it needs is a dip or two of the paddle, now and then, to keep on course.

Or maybe I need to put the Tao of Pooh back on the shelf. Or maybe it's like JA Konrath says: with enough hard work, you create the momentum that will carry you, even after you cease the effort.

Update on The Big N: I deleted my secondary characters. I deleted everything except the name of the protagonist, which finally feels perfect.

I've lived with the secondary characters for a year now, talking in my head. But after all that time, they've ... I don't know ... they've told their story already? So I had to say goodbye. I put them in a file that I hope I'll open again someday. I'll miss them while they're gone.

This story is going to have less action than I wanted and more heart than I previously considered. That's okay, I guess. My resolution this year was to dig deeper. I suppose emotion and character relationships are my strengths.

But who really knows?

My progress has gone from 10,000 words, to 1,000 words, to two. And yet, I swear it's progress. :-)

6 bonus scribbles:

Kate S 3/14/2007 05:37:00 PM  

Goodness - I saw that "2 out of 100,000" bar and thought, that can't be right.

That's some major pruning, lady. :) Brave too.

StarvingWriteNow 3/14/2007 05:57:00 PM  

two words are better than none!

Anissa 3/14/2007 06:52:00 PM  

Good for you! Better to have two words that you love than a bunch that matter little. Build from there, and make every word count. I'm rooting for you!

lainey bancroft 3/14/2007 08:19:00 PM  

When the action is all over, it is the emotion--the heart-- of a well written character that stays with a reader.

I agree with Kate S, brave. And also with starvingwritenow and anissa, two perfect words will eventually carry you further than 200 pages of crap you don't 'feel'.

Edie 3/14/2007 08:56:00 PM  

Bravo, Spy, bravo! I gutted the entire middle of my book. The new middle meant I had to change the beginning and the end. So I know just how hard it was for you. Like you, I dug deeper for the emotions.

It's finished now and I sent it out on Monday. It was all worth it-but I sure the hell hope I don't have to do it with the next book.

spyscribbler 3/14/2007 09:04:00 PM  

LOLOL ... I should clarify, it's not totally brave. They're all saved in a file for a future, different novel. :-)

I don't think I'd have the guts for all that deleting, otherwise!

Oh wow! Edie, that sounds like you changed the whole thing. Oh wait, you did!

Good luck on Monday!