When the fun stops

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So maybe it’s a block and maybe it’s not. All I know is I need a break. From everything. Facebook, my here and there appearances on Twitter (thank God for linked accounts), work, the blog, and the book.

Yup. The book.

If it is a book. Now it’s looking more like a series of novellas than an actual novel. What once was three now might be somethingIdon’tknow.

And that’s the problem. I. Don’t. Know.

I thought I had everything figured out, thought I was good. Then I hit a roadblock, got some help for said roadblock, thought I was good again but now I’m back at the roadblock. I feel like a rat in a maze with no cheese at the end.
It sucks and sometimes I feel like crying because of it. I don’t *want* to be stuck, I don’t think anyone ever does. I *want* to have this thing out to beta readers and working on the next project, but there’s the rub. I am stuck. And no amount of writing and rewriting on my shiny new whiteboard is going to help me out. I’ve tried. So far, nothing.
The story is too big. I know this. In my head it works out almost like a television series (think Boardwalk Empire or the Borgias). Lots of characters, lots of things happening, leading up to something big. On paper, well, I mentioned I was stuck, right?
I think I have things narrowed down.
Some of the problem comes from the sheer size of the plot. It’s big, it’s intricate and it encompasses an entire city and a certain time in history. Another problem comes from ‘why’. Why does this/that happen? Why does Melanie hate Bertrand? Does she? All this and much more. ‘How’ is another big’un.
A part of my problem is the reticence I have for incorporating anything ‘supernatural’ into the story. Currently I have the element painted over as ‘science’ but let’s face it, a werewolf is a damn werewolf any way you stretch it. However, let me be clear; there is nothing wrong with supernatural stories. Nothing. If done well, they’re awesome and fun to read. There’s just so much of it out there (never mind that I sort of like the idea of a Red Riding Hood reboot). Its also part of the reason I stopped watching a certain show of the same name. In my defence, it got really whiny.
Adding to that is the stigma of ‘novella’.
Blade Runner (Or Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?)
Animal Farm.
The Metamorphosis.
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
All novellas. All famous. And the only thought running through my mind; ‘well it’s not a NOVEL, is it?’ as if somehow writing a novella (or a series of them) is just not as good as a novel. I can’t really put myself up there with the ‘real’ authors if I settle for ‘shorter than a novel but longer than a short story’ then, can I?

F#cked up, innit? Welcome to my head, people.

Jealousy plays a part. So does confidence, but that’s another blog post.

The key to all of this, however, is stress. Stress at work, mostly, and the stress of being under a self-imposed deadline. I’m wore out. I just came out of two months of nonstop turmoil and forced change all started by a woman who decided she wanted to put on the big boy pants and play general manager whilst the real general manager was back in the States on leave. The words; ‘*Becky will get over it’ were used a lot in those two months. And for some reason the word ‘no’ or the phrase ‘we can’t do that’ did not go over so well with *Ethel.
Needless to say, as the senior waitstaff, I was under a lot of strain for a while.
RJ does not deal well with change. I used too. But now I’m one of those kids who takes their blanket on vacation with them because if they don’t, they won’t fall asleep. I also don’t deal with stress very well anymore, I still can, just not as much. I have very taut strings in my head, all it takes is one right pluck and my mood goes tumbling down. Not into anger or anything, I’m just mentally messed up for a while.

Venting has become a coping mechanism. The blog helps.

Above all, ignoring everything else, the writing just isn’t fun right now. It takes more effort than what it should and the payoff is disappointing. I feel lost and I don’t like it. The three days off I had were spent doing everything else I’d been wanting to do for a while (television, travel, shopping) and none of it involved writing. I knew I NEEDED too, I’d been planning on it but I didn’t want too. And when I did write something I would be easily distracted.
If that isn’t a red flag, I don’t know what is.
So, I’m taking a break for the month of August. I’m going to watch television and movies (Pulp Fiction is at the top of my list), I’m going to see my buddy down in Spain, I’m going to shop and go to London, all of that stuff. I’m going to switch off for a while. If I write, great. If I don’t, that’s okay too. But for now, it’s time to work on RJ for a little bit. Come September I’ll be back, Blood on the Quarter with me.

The story isn’t gone, it’s just a little lost.

Toodles!

*names changed for privacy purposes

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3 thoughts on “When the fun stops

  1. Bubbe says:

    Be kind to yourself RJ; enjoy your time off. Have fun!

    Here’s a thought for when you’re back: maybe what you have there is a series of novels. Following the characters from one volume to the next? Sure they’re not long enough to be novels NOW. But you’ve separated it some I take it and why couldn’t you use those separate parts as springboards? Provide the background in one that explains why Melanie hates Bertrand, when you figure that one out. No pressure, just an idea.

    😀

    1. rjkeith says:

      Thanks, Bubbe! I don’t know what’s going on with the story to be honest. It might just be that one part follows one character and so on, or something else might pop up. I’m certainly open to anything. I think my problem is more mental than a physical discrepancy with the book. I built it up and now it’s teetering. I’m taking a step back while I have the chance 😀

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