Yes, that’s true. I wrote 2,850 words today, and it’s more than I thought I could do.
I’m trying to finish up Genesis Earth, but it’s difficult because I haven’t been with these characters in a long time and I’ve forgotten a lot of their motivations. I look at what I’ve written before and I see all these inconsistencies in the things they say and do. Not that regular human beings are without inconsistencies, but I just worried that these ones were too…inconsistent.
Eventually, I had to come back down on that cardinal rule that you have to allow your first draft to suck. Yes, not everything they say or do really runs together, but I’ll be in a better position to make sense of it once the first draft is done than while it’s still mostly a cloud of ideas in my head.
Today, I just kept on putting off writing, and I started wondering why I was doing it. Was it because my characters aren’t making sense? Was it because I’m finding my own story to be unbearably boring? Am I really cut out to do this for a living when I’m struggling with these things? Those are some disturbing questions.
I took some time to watch The Empire Strikes Back, on the twenty five year old VHS copy my parents taped it on when it came to HBO, with all the wavy lines and fuzzy resolution–the one that captivated me when I was nine years old. It’s such a classic! Space opera at some of its finest! Yeah, there were holes all through the science, and the romance is kind of cheesy at parts, but the script, the overall story, the buildup and the climaxes–so classic! In some ways, I think that Empire is the best movie of the entire series.
It got me thinking, maybe I just need to get interested in my story again. Maybe that’s what’s holding me back. Genesis Earth, while still being a primarily character driven story, has a lot more hard science to it than the epic space opera that I tend to write. Maybe I’m more cut out for space opera than the hard stuff.
I got about a thousand words in, watched a movie with my family (it was Elf–reminded me of everything I hate about Christmas and Hollywood, simultaneously), and sat down to blog and go to bed, but I noticed that I’d only done 1,190 words, and decided I’d at least finish the chapter.
I’d no sooner picked up the story than the characters started to take on lives of their own. Yeah, I might not have them figured out before this point, but I can fix that later. Better to focus on what they’re doing right now.
And as I did, things got really interesting. They went from almost killing each other (especially scary, considering that they’re both alone on a small spaceship twenty light years from anyone else) to rolling on the floor together, laughing and giggling and letting loose with all the things they wanted to say back at home but couldn’t because of what everybody else would think. When you’re alone on a spaceship, you’re free from a lot of social norms and pressures.
It goes to show that the way to get out of writer’s block, or writer’s avoidance, is to ignore all the doubts, worries, and negative thoughts in your head and just write. Those doubts and worries are all just illusions anyways. The story is still there, underneath it all. Give yourself to the story and you’ll figure it out.
Genesis Earth is now around 27.7k words. I’m making progress but I want this thing to be a full blown novel, so I’ve got at least 22.3k words to go. That’s roughly 2,000 words a day before school starts. My goal is 3,000 words a day from now to January 5th. That should be enough to tie up all the loose ends and finish it up.
And when that’s done, I can focus on rewriting The Phoenix of Nova Terra! I’m really excited for that!