Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Sixteen more chapters

I was working for my uncle in Rochester when I was in my twenties and we landed a multi-million dollar project in Minneapolis that I ended up running. We had hardly any profit on the thing so we had to keep the costs down as much as we could. Brilliant that we were, we decided that I would drive to visit the project. Drive from Rochester to Minneapolis and back. It sounded like a good idea at the time.

On the way there. everything was beautiful. I stopped and snapped this picture somewhere in the outskirts of Chicago on the way there. But the drive back was agony. Man was never intended to spend that much time on the road. Truckers must be mad. By the time I hit Cleveland on the way back, I was literally hallucinating. (Well, I think I was stoned as well, and headed west for two hours out of Cleveland instead of going east, so that might have added to the pain of the trip)

The later chapters of the WIP are similar in some ways. I've become so sick of the journey that I simply want tot get it over with and therefore I think I have become somewhat reckless. Fortunately, those 16 chapters have the tightest outline, and have the most pre-written passages of the MS with the exception of a chapter here and there early on. I need to be vigilant not to speed through these so fast that I screw them up.

There's the tug of putting the work out there, yanking me by the ear. The need to get feedback on the thing. The need to have the ego stroked. It's so prevalent in writers, that critique circle decided to put a feature on their forums whereby you can applaud someones forum post. Just a little dash of encouragement. Wow, what a great post, you must be a great writer, the author believes that the one who praises is thinking. No, it's not worth putting it out there now, not before it's ready. The only critics that count are the ones who are willing to part with cash to read it.

Sixteen more chapters, a bit of polishing, and I'll be ready to face the real critics.

There's a strange effect the exhaustion that comes with working on something this long brings. You look back and you see the improvements in your vocabulary, in how you are able to express yourself, in your depth of knowledge for having researched all sorts of things you would otherwise have never taken an interest in while you sat there watching football, or soccer. You gain an appreciation for the very act of writing, and realize that you've succeeded regardless of whether or not the critics like the result. Obviously, the joy of said reward is far better if your work is appreciated, but failure in that respect isn't nearly as dark as it it seemed it would be years ago, when this thing was growing wings.


  1. You're a wise man, Fred. Has your wife ever told you that?
    It's an achievement in itself, finising a book. Those who've never tried, think it's easy. It's not. It sucks the very life out of you at times, but when you hear praise from people who've bought your work, it does all seem worthwhile. Of course, when you get dumped on my those who don't like it, the black clouds roll back in. Better never to look at any sort of review, but it's a strong person who can do that. Not me. I'm a pathetic weak sniveling wretch. Except on Wednesdays.

  2. No pressure to finish this novel, but I can't wait to read it. ;)

  3. Oh my god!! You're proclaiming an end in sight! Yippee. Dont hesitate to send me a word doc, post on CC, whatever, if you'd like. I owe you and really enjoy reading something other than Barb's smut. (just kidding! Barb is brillant.)
    Regardless, I cant wait to part with some of my cash.