So this week I was beset by a moment of fear (cover by Wally Wood, all rights to current holder). Right now, I have lots of time to work on fiction, which is awesome, but what if I don’t actually finish more stuff?
The last novel I finished from scratch was around 2003/4; since then I’ve rewritten The Impossible Takes a Little Longer and worked on several, but no new books finished. Brain From Outer Space has been my top priority (up until I started on Southern Discomfort) and I’ve gone through repeated drafts confident I’d fixed all the problems … except I hadn’t. So as I worked on replotting Southern Discomfort this week, I had to wonder, what if I go through that again? Replot, start rewriting, discover it doesn’t work, replot, start rewriting …. In which case all my added time is just wasted time. Something has to get done, because much as I enjoy writing, there’s no point to it if I don’t finish and then submit.
And there’s no way to know for sure until I do successfully finish. Most of the story looks solid (I’ll be polishing next week and maybe the week after) but Maria still isn’t working. I’ve increased the pressure that drives her to Pharisee, Georgia, but once she’s there, she still doesn’t have enough of a stake in what happens. Fixing that will be a priority next week.
Along with replotting, I started work on another replot of Brain From Outer Space. I was thinking at first I might just give up on it, but it looks like it’s not totally unsalvageable … maybe (one thing about not being a published novelist is that I lose nothing but time if a project doesn’t work out. Yes, thank goodness I don’t have to worry about deadlines for writing fiction or anything. Right. Of course). I rewrote Rabbit Indigneotem—it didn’t fix the problems with the story, but I think I’m closer to seeing the way out. And I made my final rewrite of Schloss and the Switchblade until next month when I print it out and read it aloud (that really helps).
I sold a story to the pulp market Crimson Streets — my tale of the Wandering Jew, No Good Deed Goes Unpunished. And they already paid (so if you have a period pulp-style piece, check them out). I’ll give a squeeeee here when it’s published.
And I have a new And column out, Sex as Shopping, on the problems of people thinking of sex as a kind of retail transaction.
As a minor accomplishment, I reread a first draft of a novel (untitled) I wrote a few years back and then set aside. Just as I remembered, it has a lot of good elements — but it’s also far from perfect. I’ve occasionally felt attacks of “You know if I just went back and worked on that other project instead, I’m sure I’d have it done in a snap!” but I’m satisfied that is not the case. I’ll get back to it but Southern Discomfort first
Time management notes: I’m taking longer for my morning pre-work ritual than I’ve been budgeting for, and it’s consistent. Only about another 15 minutes, but after five days that’s another hour out of the work week. And Friday was my worst day for the second week in a row, though unlike last Friday, I kept working and got my full 40 hours for the week. I could try preloading my time and putting in more work on Monday and Tuesday evenings, but as I’ve mentioned in the past, evening work is suboptimal (TYG’s back and I want to be with her, not my Macbook Air).