n3m3sis43: ((FMAB) Huuuughes and Winryyyy)
The Voice in my Head
(inspired by Dr. Seuss's The Cat in the Hat)



The words would not flow.
It was too hard to write.
So I stared at the screen
all day long and all night.

I messaged Alicia.
We chatted a bit.
And I said, "How I wish
all my writing weren't shit!"

My muse was away
and would not come to call.
So I wasted my day.
I wrote nothing at all.

So all I could do was to
sit!
  sit!
    sit!
      sit!
And I did not like it.
Not one little bit.

Then I said, "What the fuck?
I don't care if it sucks."
I typed,
then deleted and whined to my friend,
"It's tripe!"
And I heard it.
The voice in my head.
And it said to me,
"What kind of 'writer' are you?
Your plot's full of holes
and your humor's not funny.
And nobody
likes your main character, honey."

"I know some good ways I could help,"
said the voice.
"I have some good crit,"
said the voice in my head.
"A lot of good crit.
I will give it to you.
"Your 'readers' will thank me so much if I do."

Then suddenly I
did not know what to say.
My word count was already low
for the day.

But my friend said, "No! No!
Make that voice go away!
Tell that voice in your head
you do NOT want to play.
It should not be there.
It will make you morose.
It should not be there
With your deadline so close!"

"Now! Now! Have no fear.
Have no fear!" the voice pled.
"My crit is not bad,"
said the voice in my head.
"Why, this could be
quite a good piece," the voice said,
"with a technique I call
rip-rip-rip it to shreds!"

"Fucking Christ," said my friend.
"Let's not do this again!"
"Gotta go," said my friend,
and she signed off IM.

"Have no fear!" said the voice.
"I would not steer you wrong.
I will beta for you
I will make your piece strong.
By deleting this poo
and then writing instead--
good words," said the voice, said the voice
in my head.

"Look at this!
Look at your ghastly word choice.
And your info-dumps, oh--
and your character's voice!
He can't talk like this, dude!
He can't say 'fuck' this much!
Oh, the sentence fragments!
And your 'worldbuilding' sucks!
And look!
This is not realistic at all!
But that is not all!
Oh, no.
That is not all..."

"Listen up!
Listen up!
Listen up NOW!
It is good to use words
but you have to know how.
I can teach you to write
things that people will read!
Just as soon as you scrap
this ridiculous screed.
You must shitcan this 'plot'--
your 'protagonist,' too!
And then with my help
you can write something new.
You can write something great
if you do as I say!
But never your way.
Oh, no.
Never your way."

That is what the voice said...
So I sat on my bed.
I sat there like a lump
and I wanted to quit.
Then I said to the voice,
"Fuck you and all your 'crit'!"

So I took a long nap
and I thought and I thought.
I said, "Are you helping?
Oh, no! You are not.
You're not helping me grow
or write something worth shit.
No, you are not helping,
not one little bit!"

"Get out of my head!"
said myself to the voice.
"I have to write now!
Deadline's Monday--no choice!
You tore down my plot
and my characters too.
You wasted my time
and I wrote nothing new.
You SHOULD NOT be here,
mean old voice in my head."
So I banished that voice
and I wrote this instead.

n3m3sis43: ((FMAB) Huuuughes and Winryyyy)
"There are architects and gardeners. The architects do blueprints before they drive the first nail, they design the entire house, where the pipes are running, and how many rooms there are going to be, how high the roof will be. But the gardeners just dig a hole and plant the seed and see what comes up."

--George R. R. Martin, on the difference between outlining and discovery writing



I'm only writing this because I can't finish my book.

It went so well at first. I banged out a first draft, sat back, relaxed--and then realized it was crap. Which I was okay with, because I hear this is a common problem with first drafts. I figured I was home free, since all I had to do was fix it in the second draft. How naive I was. One does not simply write a second draft--not if one is a discovery writer.

In the fabulous world of discovery writing, the process goes something like this.

1. Write your first draft.
This part is pretty easy, because the characters kind of just do things. You'll probably spend a lot of time asking yourself, "Why would he [or she] do that?" Other than that, things are good, your creative juices are flowing, you're thinking, "Wheeeeeee, I can do this! I can really write a book." If you're writing 1000 words a day or so, you're done in a few months.

2. Review what you've written.
Here's where you start to run into trouble, because this is when you realize 90% of your "novel" is character development. Say you've got a 100,000-word first draft. The typical novel has 250-300 words per page, so you've written a 400-page book with, at most, 40 pages of plot. Whatever plot you do have bears little resemblance to the story you thought you were writing.

3. Write an outline for your second draft.
To a discovery writer, outlining might sound like pure torture. It's not so bad, though--all you have to do is pick up the cues your characters have given you and develop them into a coherent plot. It's satisfying to see it take shape, and you're optimistic for your second draft.

4. Begin the second draft.
Oh, boy. Remember that outline you wrote? Your characters laugh in the face of it. Within a few thousand words, your plot's taken an unexpected turn, thereby invalidating most of your carefully thought-out storyline. You may still have a basic idea of where the book is going, but how you're going to get there? That's a bit of a mystery.

5. Regroup.
Stop expecting your characters to cooperate and resign yourself to the fact that they're going to do what they want, when they're damn well ready. Give up on writing "in order" and write the chapters in the order they reveal themselves to you. Attempt to determine what order everything is really supposed to go in. Practice deep breathing.

6. Panic.
At this point, you may begin to lose your mind. It's not unusual for your characters to feed you lines of story as you're waking up or falling asleep. While you're driving, in the shower, during sex. You have 200,000 words of random notes for your book but only six chapters in your second draft. Your characters lie to you. You argue with your characters. They argue back.

7. Repeat steps 3-7 as needed.
Do them in any order you please. Rewrite the same chapter five times. Whatever. It's not like you're finishing the fucking book anyway.

8. Realize that your "main character" is not, in fact, your main character.
In hindsight, this probably should have been obvious. Oops.

9. I have no idea.
I already told you--I wouldn't be writing this if I could finish my novel.


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March 2017

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