art, bad novels, craft, editing, persistence, working, writing
As my 300K word epic trilogy Dark Crimson Corners will never be published as such, I’ve started taking it apart for quilting. I’m serializing the biography of serial killer Damascus to run here. (Toria and Tristram had been tossed in as a prologue; I’m surprised that I didn’t find a way to work in my Bad High School Poetry.) This means going through the bio and adding and fixing a gazillion tiny things.
I caught at least one of my aphasic neologisms. (One of my mood stabilizers adds a tendency toward mild aphasia to my already-numerous middle-aged moments and poor ADHD memory.) Sometimes when I can’t think of the word I just (put stuff that means what I want into parentheses) and keep on writing. Or else out pops something not-quite-right, like the word, “contentness.” (Thank heaven for redlining; the problem with self-editing is always that you know what you meant!)
It was a toss-up between “contentEDness” and “contentment,” and I was amused and intrigued to see that the closer one, which I’d clearly been trying for, conveyed the right nuance of not-as-permanent-a-state as “contentment.” How interesting that my brain got it partly right after all.
Anyway, I’m now going over this piece of writing for at least the twentieth time, what with all the past hopeful editing and re-versioning back when I thought my white elephant was comprehensible, let alone saleable. I need to make sure there is just enough info about my aliens to not confuse the hell out of new readers, which means a lot of tucking in and darning together (the quilting metaphor really seems to be the best) — and, oh my dear sweet sheep-all, I’m tired of it.
I really like this piece of writing, and I have an occasional spasm of willingness, even eagerness, to work with it, but most of it is being done page by page in the sort of unhappiness one has when one is Working and just wants to go home.
Meanwhile, my son spent an hour this afternoon playing and re-playing the same four or five bars of music on his flute. He was trying to get four similar-but-not-mechanically-exact tracks of this tune (a bit of video game music) in order to remix it. So he played it over and over again, and was very polite the time my cake-consuming fork made an itty-bitty clink against the plate. Over and over and over. Just like me and Damascus.
Sometimes making art sucks. The disturbing part of it is, you can work your butt off–and it turns out to not be much good anyway. I’ll leave you with that cheerful thought, and go back to forcing out another page of at-least-a-little-better. Le sigh.