Tuesday, September 04, 2007

I Wake Up Screaming

afraid that I have wasted a lot of time writing a novel that won't be published when I could have been writing short stories that usually do get published. It's a chance that should only be taken while young perhaps. I mean how much time do I have to screw around with this idea--that this novel will ever see light.

As I do the second draft, I'm trying even more to force all internal thoughts into external conversations and action. Since I am reading old books at the same time, this seems crazy. The characters in Willeford and the other mid century writers let you roam around in their characters head for half the book. I like being in their heads. It's easy to follow the action from there. You know what's up with them. But I know this won't work in this style of book--which I now define as a psycho-noir suspense novel.
I wonder if some of this problem with internal thought relates to the disdain for Freudian thinking. Action not rumination is what counts.
Three people have read this book and one of them says it's too rough (my mother), one says not rough enough (my husband) and one says it's okay on the roughness quotient at least (daughter). I guess I should discount my mother . But how rough is too rough when the roughness comes from your protagonist.

Anyway. I do wake up screaming.


Todd Mason said...

I forget which writer said, "Good work is never wasted." But that person was correct.

TM said...

Which doesn't help with anxiety, perhaps...really screaming? Another writer or six has noted that all we have is time...and only so much of that. If at all possible, don't let it get on top of you...do you meditate or have other rituals that help? I find that every once in a while I wake up plotting.

John McAuley said...

Patti: Don't know you personally but I'm familiar enough with your work via short stories to know you have the chops to pull this off. Git'r done-- then get it in to the hands of the people whose [commercial] opinion matters most--agents/editors.

[ Btw, that was a crushing little tale of yours in Flash Pan Alley.]

John McAuley

pattinase (abbott) said...

HA! And thanks, John. Nice of you to buck me up.

Todd, I am always looking for rituals, incantations, anything. I tried mediation but I could never come up with a good enough word to repeat. Spent the whole time thinking of that.

Sandra Ruttan said...

Patti, this is why my new mantra is to turn off the blogs, the industry blather, the lists and forums while writing. There's too much negative emphasis on the state of publishing today, and if it's discouraging you, it's discouraging the wrong people. You're an amazing writer and I believe you'll succeed.

Don't make me come over there with a paddle!

pattinase (abbott) said...

I love you, Sandra. I need to hear your voice every so often so don't go away completely.

Stephen Blackmoore said...

At some point you're going to have to shut everyone out for a bit and just go with your gut. Considering the stories you've written, I think your instincts are fine.

The question is, do YOU like it? The point isn't in the publishing it's in the writing, after all.

You'll be fine. Your work is great.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Yeah, you're right. But I'm used to a writing group weighing in on things. Read an interview with Ann Packer yesterday in the NYT and she does it too. Changes whole swaths of her novels to meet their suggestions. Some of us work in concert, I guess.

TM said...

Yes, but, really, they ain't writing your book. Your editor might have something to say...your agent might, too (but I'd be careful there...I've heard of too many would-be editorial agents).

pattinase (abbott) said...

My whole group functions like this. It's eerie to watch the guy who writes plays actually incorporate our ideas into the script and then watch them play out on a stage. We're like one amorphous scribe.

Sandra Scoppettone said...

You and Betty Grable. Wake up Screaming.

Here's the thing...I don't know any writer who doesn't have a form of "I have wasted a lot of time writing a novel that won't be published.." Mine is "This stinks. No one will buy it or read it." Stop with "It's a chance that should only be taken while young.." Nonsense.

I don't agree that it's only in the writing not the publishing or something like that that someone wrote. We all want to be published. No one writes a novel that they want to put in a drawer.

And please don't show it to any more people. This can only confuse you. Make it the best you can and then send it to NS. Go from there.