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unmitigated crap - LOLMac
u can has RDA
unmitigated crap
So, now that the whole Stargate Fan Awards voting business is tidied away . . .

I reset my word meter this week, to officially kick off the new story. The signs of progress are a bit deceptive, though; most of the word count so far is the work I did back in May. I’ve made damned little progress this week in actual writing, with tonight – Saturday night – being the most productive by far.

I’ve mostly spent the time (when I wasn’t, you know, working, eating, sleeping, etc.) in Ponder Mode: envisioning the overall plot, considering characters, looking for interesting angles, chewing over inherent problems.  Planning what kind of research I need to do.  Making lots of notes. And smashing into frequent walls. I hit the Unmitigated Crap Zone for the first time in months.

That’s the point when I become convinced that what I’m writing is unmitigated crap. It usually happens when I’m actually writing; this is the first time it’s hit me in the overall plotting stage. I consider myself fortunate that it’s the first time it’s hit me since early this year – that’s a very long stretch.

When I first started writing – working on Up a Long Ladder, beginning in fall 2007 – I hit that state frequently. I was working in near-secrecy: Lothi and my partner knew I was writing, but no-one else did. And neither of them got to see the work in progress. Lothi finally got to see it when I was about half-finished, and had run so hard into the Unmitigated Crap Zone that I sent her the half-manuscript in a state of despair, convinced that it sucked.

She managed to convince me that it didn’t, and to keep at it. Thanks, Lothi.

Since then – with Phoenix Rising, I was a bit less anxious, but I finished the whole thing before I even revealed the title to the world in general. With Aftershocks, I succumbed to the seductive lure of ongoing feedback and started posting as a work in progress. And Lothi and Melissa now read each chapter as it’s finished, pat me on the head and feed me biscuits. This has cut down considerably on the UCZ, for which I am deeply grateful.

It’s been tough hitting that zone again. Especially without any finished material to leave in a basket on my closest friends’ doorsteps with a little note saying ‘please be kind to my baby fic’. No, this one’s being a hard case whilst still in gestation, the little bugger, alternately kicking hard and retreating into sulks. I’m pretty sure it won’t be stillborn, though, and that’s what really matters.

The bright spot is that tonight, after several days of mulling but no real writing, I got a decent chunk of work done. And I even got to add a teensy leetle bit to my word meter.

August 2009


11 comments or Leave a comment
lothithil From: lothithil Date: 16th August 2009 16:25 (UTC) (Link)
She managed to convince me that it didn’t, and to keep at it. Thanks, Lothi.
It has been, and continues to be, my complete pleasure!!

I look forward to MORE! :-D

*crouches under mailbox with nekkid greed*
jackwabbit From: jackwabbit Date: 16th August 2009 20:15 (UTC) (Link)
Everyone goes through the unmitigated crap zone. You know this. Hang in there! And keep writing!

On another note, I totally forgot about the SGFA additional voting period. Was going to post a reminder and whatnot. But I didn't. Thus is life. I did vote for all my favorite graphics early on, so I'm set. (I don't vote for fic, usually, because I don't have time to read it all and won't vote in a category if I haven't read everything in it!)
lolmac From: lolmac Date: 17th August 2009 06:08 (UTC) (Link)
I voted in some categories, skipped others (I really don't know SGA enough to have any opinions there) -- and did most of my voting at the last minute, in spite of good intentions. I did stumble across some good works by good creative folks, and I was glad to have had them dragged under my nose.
jackwabbit From: jackwabbit Date: 17th August 2009 19:26 (UTC) (Link)
Oh, me, too. I usually find a few golden apples, so to speak.

But I only vote if I read everything in the category, so since you know how likely that is to occur, well...yeah, I don't vote for much fic.

I do vote for graphics, though, because I can just spend twenty minutes goofing around and find some lovelies, etc.
wanderingsmith From: wanderingsmith Date: 16th August 2009 23:48 (UTC) (Link)
hard case whilst still in gestation, the little bugger,
my but that brought Miles VorKosigan to mind.. lol

wow, it always amazes me to hear to hear folks who actually think through their stories. ..actually, 'humbles me' is a better word. kudoes.
lolmac From: lolmac Date: 17th August 2009 06:20 (UTC) (Link)
Well, I'm looking at another one of those multi-layered complex plots that'll probably run 50k words, possibly more. I don't have to know everything that's going to happen, but I do need to know enough of the broad outlines so that I don't head off in the wrong direction. And I especially need to feel sufficiently interested in the problem to want to follow it -- after all, this will be a big part of my life for, probably, the next six months or so.

I have no idea why this kind of story happens to be the writing that I'm doing, but I'm not about to complain. I won't look my precious gift horse in the mouth -- especially when I thought I'd have to walk my entire life!

Hadn't thought of Miles, but it certainly is apt! ROFL!
wanderingsmith From: wanderingsmith Date: 17th August 2009 23:08 (UTC) (Link)
....-shakes head in wonder- I can't fathom how you know ahead of time how long a fic will be... can understand wanting to plan out plot (-eyes guiltilly refuse to meet anyone's- should have done that a few times earlier myself... except.. that I'm used to writing plotless romance... anyway, moving on)

yeah.. just starting to realize just how long and how much writing has been a part of my life.. can't really imagine not having it.

OMG! you recognized the name Vorkosigan??!!! {{hug}}
lol, sorry, but 'tis very rare I find fellow fans :D
you hear there's a new book coming out soonish?
lolmac From: lolmac Date: 18th August 2009 00:09 (UTC) (Link)
{{{hugs back}}} Bujold rocks! And no, I hadn't heard!

As for length -- I know how big the ‘idea’ is, as it were . . . how much trouble I intend to get Mac into, and how much trouble it’ll for him to get himself out of it. I know a fair amount of what he’s going to be doing, and some of what he needs to know, and a bit about how he’s going to find it out.

Based on that, and how long previous fics have run, I can now make a rough estimate because I’ve paid attention over the last two years to how much plot produces how much fic when it's been squeezed trhough the barins and out the fingers. And I've only been writing for two years -- a little less, actually. Since I knew when I started that word counts were used as the standard professional metric, I figured I'd better learn to use them.
wanderingsmith From: wanderingsmith Date: 18th August 2009 01:52 (UTC) (Link)

...yeah -shakes head- never gonna make a writer. oh well. back to my dayjob. and the lotto.

only started counting words sometimes last year.. think mostly 'cause a friend was doing big bang and continually hearing it... made me curious. but from counting to controlling is a leap I haven't made.
lolmac From: lolmac Date: 18th August 2009 01:57 (UTC) (Link)
Whattya mean, "never gonna make a writer"? You are a writer, and you've been one for longer than I have.

You said "from counting to controlling" -- at least for me, there is no control. It's just an awareness: knowing, "okay, this story is probably going to be this long, so I'd better accept that it will take me this long at least to write it" -- which keeps me from being too hard on myself. And it's subject to change without notice.
wanderingsmith From: wanderingsmith Date: 18th August 2009 02:07 (UTC) (Link)
eh. an amateur. and not really that long. only wrote a couple stories ten years ago... and maybe 10 three years ago. wasn't till last year that I really started spending every minute cranking out words.

lol, sounds like you have a lot more control than I. SAHB started as just a..maybe 5k bit of nothing... then thought, 'uh, might hit 30k -cool!'...

then the number of chapters I had ideas for (not 'plans, lol) hit 22.. and at even 5k each...

thing is, I almost never know where a story will take me. I just.. write what the characters feel. sometimes they go silent after a small scene, sometimes they wake up the next morning and keep babbling. today I just see the joke they exchange as they get nekkid... tomorow they might decide to discuss the future, or spend some time with friends or... but since its nothing I can predict.. could never make a living, snort, even assuming there was any livable market for smut
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