Back in June I wrote about outlining my work-in-progress and how strange it was that it seemed to have no SF element. No magic realism, no paranormal, no weird shit in sight. Was I really writing a straight, no-fantasy, novel? Inconceivable.
Then in November I wrote about how much I was struggling with it. It just wouldn’t write, I kept skipping writing days, what was wrong with me. I usually zip along, but no. I should have twigged then, but I did not.
In December I finally figured out the SF element. That is six months after starting, and only NOW has the root of the problem finally been revealed: I am an idiot. This will come as no surprise to many of you.
Basically, I’m writing a ghost story. There are three characters, a foul-mouthed cook, a violinist, and a teenaged girl, and and they are all haunted. Only, see, back in June and all through the end of 2013, I didn’t want to write a ghost story. I thought, “Oh, I’m sick of ghost stories, that’s all been done. This isn’t going to be a ghost story. I’ll write something else.” And I went on my merry way, trying to write some other book that had no ghosts…but it’s a ghost story. You can’t take the ghosts out of a ghost story!
No wonder the book ran aground.
Just this month, like pulling teeth, I finally allowed the GIANT FREAKING HOLE in my book to be filled with the ghosts that were meant to be there from the beginning, and…suddenly the book is fine. Of course I’m not writing a book with no SF in it. This is ME we’re talking about. It’s just that I was just systematically not letting THIS book’s SF be in the book. Now that the ghosts are in there, it’s all going as it should, pages appearing, writing is no problem again. I’m psyched to get to it each day, I feel happy and at peace with the world, all the strange things I get from a good hit of writing (why? I don’t know). As I said: I am an idiot.
Six month of resistance!!!!! SIX MONTHS.
What’s worse, this isn’t the first time I have made this mistake. I did this exact thing once before. I didn’t want to write a vampire book because DUH. Vampires. So I tried to write Conjuring Raine without a vampire. But of course, IT IS A VAMPIRE STORY. If you’ve read it, can you imagine Conjuring Raine where Joshua is not a vampire? NO. (And if you haven’t read it, go read it! It’s a great book! 🙂 ) I ended up putting the vampire back in when the story ran aground around the 100 page mark and refused to budge. And all was well. I just had to accept the fact that I was a person who had written a vampire book. No shame!
Is twice enough to have learned my lesson? If a book wants to be a ghost story, it’s a ghost story! I can’t just decide for it not to be, because I think I don’t want to write a ghost story. This should be obvious!!!!
Also, writing ghost stories is spooky. As in, I’m kind of creeping myself out lately, especially at night. Plus I’m thinking about death all the time. It’s kind of morbid. And man, the sex in this one. Plus swearing, lots and lots of swearing—just this one character, but still. Nevertheless, I’m surrendered at this point. It is what it wants to be, ghosts, sex, swearing, and all. And if I try to make it something else, well…maybe I’ve learned my lesson.