“It took me fifteen years to discover that I had no talent for writing, but I couldn't give it up because by that time I was too famous.”
Robert Benchley

author: Nicole J. LeBoeuf

actually writing blog

avoidance! it's what's for dinner (too bad i'm not hungry)
Fri 2014-05-16 23:55:30 (in context)
  • 3,078 words (if poetry, lines) long

For the second time I've missed a Sword and Sorceress submissions deadline. It's already 11:30 as I begin writing this blog post. There is no way I'm finishing the story and preparing it for submission in under half an hour.

I just left it too late, is all.

For one thing, I left almost the entirety of the second scene and the rest of the story after for today. That was pretty dubious from the start. Then I woke up with a headache, and that headache refused to shift itself all day. I didn't really feel able to work on it until the headache finally faded around 7:30 or 8:00 tonight. That was what sealed my defeat.

Nevertheless, I sat down to work on it, thinking, "Hey, it's still possible! And even if it isn't, it'll be time well spent." And it was time well spent. I just wish I'd spent the time last Tuesday.

I can get really pathological about deadlines. The closer they get, the less time I have to finish, the more resistance builds up around the project, making it even harder to use what time remains. It's not that illogical, really--it's just that the project gets scarier the closer the deadline gets, so I panic, and in my panic I avoid the project really hard.

The good news is, I've finished the second scene, the one with all the moving pieces and bit-part characters. I probably need to go over it again and smear a light glaze of "other people in the room" over the top of it, just to more convincingly texture it as a crowded party setting. And I probably need to massage the pacing a little, give more of an impression of the hours passing until the scene culminates at drunk-o-clock. (These are more reasons why a story shouldn't still be in incomplete rough draft form on deadline day.) But the basic building blocks of the scene are all there, and it reads fairly smoothly.

Getting it even this far is an accomplishment that did not at all look feasible last night or this morning. It's amazing how suddenly the writing looks possible when you just sit down and make yourself start writing, isn't it? *shakes head, sighs, feels stupid*

The next scene is easy. There are only two people in it, and despite it representing the emotional climax of the piece, the actual action is minimal. The real challenge is in making the dialogue natural and not clunky, given the job it's going to have to do, the things that have to get said and reacted to. But since dialogue is typically something I find easy and fun, it'll probably be OK.

I should not find myself avoiding it, is what I'm saying.

So I can't submit it to Sword and Sorceress 29. But I can think of several places it might be a good fit for, and I'm looking forward to sending it to one of them.

Meanwhile, I get a weekend.