Thursday, June 20, 2013

A creative slump

I am uncertain if this post making excuses for low productivity in the last two weeks or trying to resolve the roadblocks.  Last week I rarely had a day over 700 words and weekend was a write off.  This week I opened with 2100, hit 1000 on Tuesday and effectively nothing yesterday and some doodles todays.

Without going into specifics, I encountered a problem that some scenes are in the wrong order, and or setting.  Foolishly I added a secondary story arc. The appearance it is ill-timed because for the characters involved there are so little options for them to act on any rebellion would lead to a nearly identical action.  There are problems with pacing.

In any version of the story I will tell, a rescue craft gets sent on a dangerous journey to get help from a not particularly nearby outpost.  In the original vision of the project, this small boat trek was going to be an at the core of the adventure.  However now I am faced with the the problem of it starting very far into the overall narrative.  This has the net effect of nearly resetting things.  Essentially becoming a part two in what was to be a self contained narrative.  This irritates me. I am close to writing those moments.

The knowledge that I am at a point where, I could potentially repeat myself just to jump ahead to a second narrative is slowing me down.  Some of the writing has been treading water as I try to digest where I want to go with who.  It remains an open question if I want to stick with the first person singular perspective I started with or move to a multi character viewpoints perspective.

I have to give myself some credit I have written 29,000 words. That alone reminds me that this project is possible and finite in scope.  Some of the words are in the wrong order but scenes I have created will likely find a place even if the setting and order will change.

In fact the more I think about a change of setting the more I realise how much more story there can be told there and how much more I can capitalize on my love and hate for the north.  It also has to be noted that thanks to the Tens of Thousands of words I have hammered into this project, the characters are more complete and have lives of their own.  The world has surprised me with creating unplanned details and unexpected character motivations.

The problem it would seem is not a lack of ideas but an understanding that the structure I have them built into is deeply imperfect.  It has also come to my attention that my brain is too small for this project.  Thankfully a local dollar store had tabloid sized newsprint doodle books for kids on for cheap. With these I can refine my timeline and doodle the future. Mind you remapping the narrative reinforced the structural and plot holes I have created for myself.

The conclusion I have remains the same, write the parts I know need written, write the parts that connect them. I may suck, but this is still a first draft of what is the largest writing exercise I have undertaken.  A slump is not a failure, but it can not be encouraged either.  I am still pushing myself, but somedays pushing forward only keeps you in place.

Writing slightly too slow but  still writing.

Alexander van Houten.

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