|Flickr Credit: mrholle|
Okay, no it’s not. That’s just my catchphrase when things “take a turn for the worse,” as we Oregon Trail fans might say. There is no scale or reason to the phrase; I just say it. Good book kills amazing characters? Everything is bad. Terrorism and hate crimes happen every day? Everything is bad. We are out of cheese? Everything is bad. …Deciding to trunk a novel?
Everything is bad.
I made my decision on Friday night. Notebook Spawn, which I’ve been in the process of editing since this summer, is done. Over. I’m not going to work on it anymore. At the time, it seemed like a good idea because it was late and I was tired—the relief that followed seemed like a good omen.
It was harder to stick to that decision when I finally moved the folder into the TRUNK file on my hard drive. It felt less good, then. If I gave it just a few more days… a few more attempts… then I wouldn’t have to give up.
It’s weird thinking that I have to commit to stop writing a novel, but I need to.
This novel doesn’t make me happy. I hate this sentence because it’s true. I’m certain that the edits I’ve made thus far to the novel were the best so far—looking back, I’m proud of the new quality I produced. I liked my writing, but not the novel itself. It was written with a sentiment I don’t feel and can’t support anymore, and since so much of the story is tied up in that sentiment, editing it kind of drags me down.
This was a “practice novel.” I wrote this because I figured that pretending to write a novel would help me be a “real writer” someday. Well, fun fact, if you actually write things you can’t pretend to be a writer—but that “practice-ness” feels glued to the story, and I want to write with the confidence that I am a writer, not that I’m going to be.
I can’t give it the attention it needs. I imagine that someday I’ll come back to this novel, but right now, I don’t have the time or energy to untangle the story and the characters from the aforementioned sentiments and practice-ness that could really make it awesome. I’m not doing myself or the novel any favors by pretending I’ll get to it tomorrow.
And that’s just it—there’s a lot rolled into this novel, and I’m not going to get to it for a while. I’ll be more productive and more happy working on something else for the time being—even though the reasons I just listed sound whiny and dumb-sounding whenever I reread them.
Don’t good writers stick it out ‘til the end of every draft? Don’t they not mope? Don’t they respect the fact that other people have put work in their stuff and see it through despite their feelings? Aren’t they stronger than general dissent?
Everything is bad. Everything is okay. Everything is I don’t know.
I’m keeping the trunk locked for now. Sometimes you have to be stronger than your urge to keep going, and work on something new and awesome despite what everyone else says. I don’t really know why all of this is; I just know it to be true. I’ll manage.