Thursday, November 22, 2007

The Neurotics of the End.


The picture is one of our babies, Dixie Doodle Bug, a few years ago. Isn’t she precious?

I finished today! Polished, revised, tweaked, everything! Finishing a story is always an emotional roller coaster ride for me. First, of course, is relief. Then there’s a burst of exhilaration and a rush of giddiness so strong I had to walk it off in Borders. I suspect it’s just a release of the intense concentration and focus.

Gradually, a sickening sensation works its way into my stomach.

But then I try to forget it and reward myself with two hours of poking around the stacks. I’m writing a whole new book. Time for a shiny new idea! As I poke around, I’m looking for a perfect book, the one book that is everything I ever dreamed of in a novel, the one book that will inspire me to write better than I ever have before!

Nothing is precisely and exactly what I want. (Which, I suspect, is why most writers write.)

Pretty soon I start getting this itchy, panicky feeling at the base of my spine. I feel all jittery and nervous. I’m not writing anything. It’s like standing naked in a bookstore or something. It’s like, if I’m not mired in the depths of a story, I’m no longer a writer.

I start pacing the bookstore, trying to figure out how I’m going to write this next novel, trying not to let fear creep in, but my determination feels all jittery and caffeinated.

I gotta get started on the next one, prove I can write better.

Sometimes it feels like there is no sweet spot in a novel. At the beginning, I fear I won’t have enough story. At the quarter point, I fear I’ll never make it to the end. In the middle, I fear I’ve made a mess of everything. Near the end, I worry that it won’t be satisfying enough, strong enough, powerful enough. And then comes one moment of exhilaration before the insecurities kick in, before I’m worrying about whether or not I’ll be able to write the next book.

I swear, the only peace I get is when I’m actually writing, when I’m living in my fictional world and putting it on the page.

What about you? Do you have a sweet spot that is most pleasurable in the process?

And just for fun, I played with Mark Terry’s Word Count stats:

Word words: 47,238
TNR words: 184 x 350 = 64,400
Courier words: 238 x 250 = 59,500

Funky. That’s kinda neat, kinda disconcerting. Probably my last novella woulda been a novel around 71,000 words by NY standards. Okay, I usually don’t think about this kinda stuff, but now I’m feeling slightly neurotic about this, too.

Well hey, there’s a bright side. If I use these types of word counts, I can say I’ve written plenty of short novels rather than long novellas ...

7 bonus scribbles:

Edie 11/22/2007 08:37:00 AM  

Happy Thanksgiving, Spy! And congratulations on reaching the end! I feel that rush of happiness at the end too. But unlike you, I don't jump into a next book. I have to read it over and revise.

My sweet spot is thinking up ideas for the book and creating the characters. That's a form of daydreaming, which I've been doing since I was a kid. The writing is work. Work I enjoy, but still work.

Bernita 11/22/2007 08:59:00 AM  

You too?
"It’s like, if I’m not mired in the depths of a story, I’m no longer a writer."

spyscribbler 11/22/2007 10:51:00 AM  

Thanks, Edie! Happy Thanksgiving to you, too! I kinda read and revise it as a I go along. I re-read the whole thing on Saturday and yesterday, and re-read the last three chapters every day this week. And yesterday I didn't get excited until I'd re-read the last chapter again. It's not like I don't re-read and revise, I just don't get that rush until all the reading and revising is done. :-)

Thinking up ideas and creating characters is fun! You reminded me, I like sitting in the shower and imagining the scenes of the day!

spyscribbler 11/22/2007 10:55:00 AM  

Yes, Bernita! Yes, yes, yes! It's so cool to find out you're not the only one!

Kate S 11/22/2007 12:02:00 PM  

LOL, I love playing with those word stats, too, and for the same reason. :)

Congratulations on finishing! And polishing, tweaking, revising, etc. - wow! I know you've been sweating this one.

I can't wait for you and Edie to give your DH's their writing deadlines. You should have had them sign up for Nano. (evil grin)

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours and "Dixie Doodle Bug" is a cutie pie. The name is so funny.

spyscribbler 11/22/2007 12:40:00 PM  

Oh, Kate, I can't wait for DH to write a novel! I really can't! Not just to be evil, but just to watch him go through the process and understand!

And I finally get to start Nano, LOl ...

J.K. Mahal 11/23/2007 12:47:00 PM  

Happy Thanksgiving and congrats on finishing!