When writing is like a construction site

Hi, all —

So, yeah. Been keeping busy with some stuff. My latest mystery will be out in a month or so. Give or take (let’s hope it’s the give). And I’m working on a few different projects at the moment. One is really causing me angst. I like the characters, I like the overall plot arc, I like the setting and the romance (yes, it’s another romance), but like any project that sits a while, it needs work.

I wrote this novel back in…um…2009-ish or thereabouts and then it kind of sat around for a while on my hard drive, drinking beer and scratching itself while watching The L-Word and Ellen over and over again. I dug it out a few months ago because I knew it was time for it to get ready for its debut.

And time to gut a few parts of it and add some other parts. For some reason, that’s proven a bit frustrating for me. Okay, it’s pissed me off. I’ve gone rounds with this manuscript and with the characters. And now it’s time for more of that.

MORE BLOG THERAPY AHEAD!

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Angst

Hey, peeps.

All writers, I think, go through periods of angst.

Mine usually happen after I turn a manuscript in to a publisher (or, if it’s a self-published work, when I turn it over to the editor) and I start thinking that said manuscript sucks giant horse ass and WTF was I thinking, turning it in like that?


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The angst gets even worse when I start another project or resume work on one. Generally, after I finish writing a novel, I usually take about a week or two off from writing, and let my brain and muses recover. Unless something is totally demanding that I write it.

In this case — with my latest bout of angst — I took about 10 days off and then started doing re-writes on a project I hope to publish in the spring.

And I’ve had nothing but angst with this one, even to the point of actually not being able to sleep. Even though I really like working with these characters and this story.

The thought that dogs me: is this novel good enough? It has a lot to live up to, because the novella on which it’s based is proving to be rather popular with quite a few readers. I really like these characters, and I’ve been with them, now, for about seven years. I want to do them justice, and I want to do their story justice, but I’m freaking out that I’ll totally drop the ball and deliver a suck-fest.

And then I remember that I do this every time I finish a book. I write two series, and when I start the next installment in either, I freak out that it won’t be good enough, and that it won’t even make it up to what the others delivered (which I hope is good).

So I’m battling angst as I work on this particular project. The funny thing is, I had a serious case of angst when I released the novella on which this novel is based. The same kinds of freak-outs, the same feelings that I was sending my characters out into the world to get their asses kicked.

Maybe it’s just these particular characters. I don’t worry so much about the other ones. Maybe I worry about these because this storyline has a very special place in my heart, and I didn’t want to see these characters get their asses kicked. That is, I know that there are people out there who are not fans of what I write, and they’ll find fault no matter what I do. So I knew my characters would get smacked around a bit. And I know they’ll weather the storm, just as I do, but this particular storyline has really made me angsty, though I absolutely love working on it.

Upshot? Yeah. I’m in a writer-angst period. But that goes with the territory, in this writing life. I generally try to back-burner the angst and continue working on the project, but sometimes, the angst gets the better of me. That’s when I watch movies.

Any other writers go through angst?

In spite of all that, I hope everyone had a great weekend and that you’re recharged and ready for the week.