“A good novel tells us the truth about its hero; a bad novel tells us the truth about its author.”
G. K. Chesterton

author: Nicole J. LeBoeuf

actually writing blog

Day 12: You Just Show Up. Because You Can't Not.
Fri 2010-11-12 22:31:01 (in context)
  • 22,044 words (if poetry, lines) long

Today was one of the not-so-great days you sometimes hear tell about. I got more than 2000 words down, but most of those words were just saying "I don't know what happens next" in wordy kinds of ways.

That's not precisely true. I do know what happens next: Jet eventually has to get onto that rooftop and snipe some important dude, and then exit the dream with a very showy swan dive. That scene's pretty clear in my head. The problem is, who's the dude, how does she find out, and what all does it have to do with Lia precisely?

So I'm still blathering my way through the Getting There From Here bit. I'm going through a day in the life of Lia, who turns out to be a programmer for a financial institution. Sounds... slightly familiar doesn't it? When nothing else comes to mind, grab a piece of biography. Then I'm writing about Jet who's shadowing Lia through the same damn day. By the end of the 2000+ words, I think I finally know what really was supposed to happen in those scenes and how it fits into the bigger picture--but why must it take several hours of "I don't know what to write" to get there?

This is the point where, were I an established author with a long list of published titles to my name, I'd toss a bit of unedited rough draft up on the screen and call it a backstage look at The Process. And y'all would read it and go, "Wow, even awesome successful writers like Nicole J. LeBoeuf have crappy first drafts, isn't that encouraging?" However, as Nicole J. LeBoeuf is not yet an awesome successful writer but rather a writer aspiring to awesome success, the effect would be more like "HEY U GUYZ LOOK I WROTE SOME STUFF IT STINKS LOLZ."

So instead I present those few paragraphs from today's output that, brushed off and given a bit of a polish, turn out to sort of suck the least. I'm putting it here for the same reason you raise your hand and say "Here" when the teacher calls your name. I was present. I showed up. Even though I felt totally uninspired, I showed up on the page. Because that's what you have to do.

For starting as unusually as it had, Lia's day was not unusual. It was yet another a poster child, in a long line of poster children, for Lia's Boring Life. Lia had never liked boring--who does? Well. Some people seemed to. Safe behind their cubicles, pushing code or financial figures across a lighted screen, getting all the excitement they needed out of World of Warcraft or Monday Night Football. She didn't understand those people. She didn't understand why she was living one of their lives. Maybe some Java programmer cum MMORG nerd had misplaced his life, or her life, and Lia had stumbled across it on her escape from Mapleton Ridge, just when she needed to pick up a new life of her own.

Obviously she wasn't displeased with her boring present life as compared to her exciting days with the Swifts. And anything, even the Swifts, was better than the family and the house that she couldn't stop thinking of as home. Not that she'd thought so during her time in Mapleton Ridge. Crushed beneath Tresco's idiot weight in the bedroom of an Upton Street mansion, her thoughts had reached with desperate fondness toward her older brother, who'd done terrible things to her in the years when she'd been too young to comprehend how terrible things were. But just this past September, sitting across the table from her brother, listening to her mother sniff and sneer about how fucking grateful Lia should be that her parents still allowed her to cross their threshold--ah, then she fixed her mind firmly on the glamorous nights spent leaning on Tresco's arm or dancing with Ritchie under a thousand refractions of ballroom spotlights. It kept her from screaming awful bridge-burning things at her family, memories like that.

And now? Sitting in front of her computer screen, pushing code meant to enable rich investors to risk their funds for more riches, what did she think of now? She thought of the night she'd fled the Swifts at last, hitching north with nothing more than the clothes she stood up in, hiding in the bushes outside her parents' house so she could sneak into her old bedroom after both her parents were out of the way--her father in the arms of yet another too-youthful mistress, her mother in the arms of drugged sleep--then taking what she needed, then driving away, driving south, driving, driving... She wished she could be driving anywhere, now. The lack of a car still pinched.

email