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The Toybox

people for the conservation of limited amounts of indignation


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navel-gazing, writerly speaking
cookies
seperis
I cut twenty-seven pages from Landscape five minutes ago.

Whoo-boy, what a rush.

For anyone who hasn't worked with me on a beta, I tend to--act, perhaps, as if someone is chopping off my fingers to remove a word, much less a section, or you know, three quarters of the fourth part of the story. Even if I know, intellectually, it's for the story's own good. Hell, the entire main *plotline* of that particular story is now tucked away in an abandoned document, never to be seen again, unless i need to cannibalize a bit for a few key scenes that translate over.

I do not *do* this. I just--once I write it, it's *there* for me, and I can't erase and pretend like it's not there. And now it's not, and I'm kind of feeling--well, loss, I suppose.

In case anyone is curious, I'v been agonizing over this particular section pages since *November*.



I--it's not insecurity on the storyline that's getting to me. That's normal. It's that when I started, I didn't know what I was writing. It's the question that cjandre kept asking me over and over and *over* until it finally sank in that I had not only no idea, but didn't seem inspired to *get* one. Writing just to see words only gets you so far. I kept thinking I'd *stumble* over it eventually, which I sort of did, but wouldn't it have been nice if it happened *before* I wrote this far?

I had this long conversation with a friend about the process for me, and how it's changed but stayed essentially the same. I know plotline, begininning, and sometimes how I think it will end from the start--though the ending always changes. But the story--what it's actually *about*--I don't get until I'm usually halfway or three quarters through. Somewhere was supposed to be Lex redemptionistic, but it ended up not really about that so much as about Clark's transition from being a superhero to being--well, a superhero, just an entirely different kind. It *surprised* me, but since I was posting daily, I didn't have time to panic and rewrite, just had to go with it, a very good thing as far as the story is concerned. The Yard's started doing it already, and it was supposed to be more of a Lex story, but it's very co-character now.

It's almost like a change in the middle of a paragraph for me--it hits me when one piece of dialogue falls into place, one action is taken, *this* is what I was actually going for, even if I didn't know it, even if I wanted something different. And going back to the beginning and reading, I can see the pattern early on in it going this way, and it's--does that sound some kind of really weird psychotic break? I keep wanting to examine it a little, and then I wonder if examining it will take away the essential surprise and high I get when it all fits together, more or less. The one time I really remember it hitting me was figuring out Peter's wife was dead as I wrote Lex saying it in Common Spaces, which was about geez, ten pages or so from the end. Suddenly, it made *sense*, the entire idiotic story that had been driving me up the wall because while I was just as content writing cross-comic porn, I wanted it to at least pretend to have a plotline outside orgasms. Not that orgasms aren't a spectacular plotline in themselves. I still had to go back and clarify to make sure, but the pieces were there early on, and finally, I could see what to do to make them all thread together. Once she was dead, the parallels were so obvious I wondered if I'd been channeling the spirit of the Anvil at some point.

So. Twenty-seven dead pages. I feel kind of like I lost some toes. Must mull. I get a cookie, for being brave.


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*hands you a cookie* I'm not that brave, for the record.

I don't know if it's bravery. Freakoutedness, maybe.

And another cookie, just because.

I still want to know where that story is going, dammit.

You and me both. I have a really bad feeling that how I think it ends won't be how it actually ends. Which will suck.

I will never finish this story. Seriously. It will be my albatross, following me around forever, mocking me as I sit in Part IV, staring at it, willing it to *work*. Or God help me, part v. Or my favorite nightmare, five pages from the end or something.

And worst part? Lex got to *shoot people* in this part. And I have to cut it, and I am a fan of Lex embracing violence, dammit.

*munches cookie disconsolately*

*gives you a cookie* You deserve it.

I'm one of those 'once it's written, it should damn well stay' writers too, so I get your pain. Normally, I need to delete end paragraphs or add them, but since my endings are always dodgy, I don't mind that.

But I currently have a long fic in beta and I keep having these weird moments of almost-panic, wondering if it's going to come back from the beta with great big slashes in metaphorical-red-pen saying that this scene and that scene and this other one need to be deleted because they achieve nothing.

So, yes. You've just deleted a chunk. You deserve many cookies.

And going back to the beginning and reading, I can see the pattern early on in it going this way, and it's--does that sound some kind of really weird psychotic break?

I'm currently doing a Creative Writing class at uni/college, and there's this whole idea about *themes* of writing which goes over my head. I'm writing because the characters talk to me, they tell me about one little thing and... it's like finding a twisted ball of yarn, y'know? I'm writing to untangle the ideas, to hear the ends of the conversations, to straighten the string.

But, apparently, we're supposed to keep the *themes* of our piece in mind as we write. We're supposed to have this level of self-awareness that I clearly lack -- that I always have, because just because I see the themes in a story when it's finished, doesn't mean I had a clue they were there as I wrote -- but I find that stoppig to think about the themes just makes the words dry up. It stops me from writing.

Of course, I think more editing after the initial writing would probably be better.

(Mind you, the other frightening thing mentioned in this course? The idea that a lot of good writers write down a novel, delete nine tenths of it, and then start again and re-write the entire thing. I think that would be too painful to bear.)

The theme will often announce itself to the writer three-quarters of the way through the work, and then you can say, "Oh, how nice that this all fits together!" Personally, I almost never begin with a theme in mind. People do their creative work differently, and anything that tries to make one size fit all is doomed to failure, I think.

But, apparently, we're supposed to keep the *themes* of our piece in mind as we write. We're supposed to have this level of self-awareness that I clearly lack -- that I always have, because just because I see the themes in a story when it's finished, doesn't mean I had a clue they were there as I wrote -- but I find that stoppig to think about the themes just makes the words dry up. It stops me from writing.

That's the reason I hated and still hate lit and English classes *so much*. But then, I hated the entire cutting of a story into it's seven component parts,too--what was it, theme, mood, setting, characterization, tone, dialogue, and something else. It just--noo. I'd sit and think, it's a *story*. Not a mathematical equation.

(Mind you, the other frightening thing mentioned in this course? The idea that a lot of good writers write down a novel, delete nine tenths of it, and then start again and re-write the entire thing. I think that would be too painful to bear.)

*thoughtful* I wonder how *literal* they're being when that's said, though. I really do. I mean, it just--I don't see it. What's the point of writing it if you're never going to actually use any of it?

Hmm.

What's the point of writing it if you're never going to actually use any of it?

Apparently, it's to clarify the characters and backstory in your mind. It's...

Well, when you're writing original fiction, I think it's taking the place of canon. Like, when you write a good fic, there's all this backstory of canon that you know about the characters (but you don't go through and summarise it all in the story -- because that would make it clunky and boring -- but you write as if it's a known thing). So, for original writing, the theory is that you don't need to spell everything out but as the author, you should *know* those bits of character history.

It's sort of... I don't know. If I think about it rationally, it probably leads to good writing, but it *feels* all pointless.

You get a whole bag of cookies!

Mmm. Cookies.

*munches and hugs you*

I embrace you, soldier! Those cookies are well-deserved.

*bows* Thank you.

*wrinkles forehead* I dont have to like, print and burn it ritually now, do I? Cause I am totally not up for that bit at all.

*stares at word, resisting urge to open it*

Twenty-seven dead pages. I feel kind of like I lost some toes.

That makes sense because it is something of you, something you created and it is a loss. Even if cutting it is for the better, it's still a loss.


I cna't make myself restart quite yet. I mean, there's thecomfort in knowing that at least this time, I'll get it right--but God. Just knowing those pages are *there*....

*sighs* I can so get over this. It's just freaky.

"Etwas zu beginnen erfordert Mut, etwas zu beenden noch mehr."
To start somethings requires a lot of bravery, to end something even more. (roughly translated from Germany)

::pets::

I know the agony this part gave you but maybe now it won't be so hard to write. Good things will come of this. If nothing else, look at all the cookies you've got =)

PS - I see that comment about not finishing.

I saw it too! *backs you up in case it goes "missing"*

Dude. Between the two of us? She has no hope. Wanna push for more sex while we're at it?

Thsi is officially a marathon. I will finish it, at this point just to prove I can. *looks determined*

It could make it easier to perform the amputation if you knew you might later be able to use the material in other ways. It's never wasted -- a good idea that didn't work in its present home is still a good idea, and might well prompt another story later.

When I write -- and I haven't, yet, in this fandom -- it's usually because I have a particular scene in mind. I did a whole novel (alas, still unpublished) based around one three-paragraph scene that just wouldn't fall out of my head until I'd written it.

The thing is, you're writing. You can't refine gold if you have no ore to process, right? So it's all good.

When I write -- and I haven't, yet, in this fandom -- it's usually because I have a particular scene in mind. I did a whole novel (alas, still unpublished) based around one three-paragraph scene that just wouldn't fall out of my head until I'd written it.

Yes! I thought I was the only one that got weirdly obsessed wiht one scene and have to build a story to see it. Whee!

The thing is, you're writing. You can't refine gold if you have no ore to process, right? So it's all good.

Yes. I am brave and I am refining ore here. That is how I will think of it. *very determined*

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