Tuesday, February 10, 2009


Untouched word count @ 23,000.

Which is great, sort of. Well, yes, I mean it is very good, but writing 1200 words does not quite make up for skipping out on several days. At the end of Jan I was at 14,800 and at 1K-a-day (hey, that's pretty catchy) I should be at 24,800 by the end of the 10th (today). Hopefully I will be able to complete that- hey it's *only* like 2K words. And yes, I am slightly obsessive when it comes to my writing.

Speaking of being obsessive, I might just be scaring myself, but many fears have manifested in regards to my writing, this manuscript in particular.

***This list is very long, and I probably just wanted to vent my fears. Feel free to not read my paranoid ranting. It's probably excessive anyway :p

I'm afraid I use way too many adjectives. I don't like reading something and being confused about what is going on, so I think I over compensate and describe my scenes in a bit too much detail. And by 'a bit' I mean way too much. I'm also worried about trying to sound poetic, or eloquent, and ending up sounding cheesy instead. Like this sentence:

"I drifted into a dreamless state; my mind as empty and black as death itself."

I'm torn between thinking that sounds great, and thinking it sounds emo and cheesy. It's hard to tell how the individual will perceive it.

I'm afraid my MC is not likable. I don't want a whiny, melodramatic YA heroine. I think my MC is fighting for something she believes in, and she is flawed, and tends to blind herself with dreams instead of facing reality, but I really, really hope her battle is something a reader could support her with.

I'm afraid my dialogue isn't natural sounding. I think it is, but maybe I just talk like a weirdo. I'm starting to realize how hard it is to see your own work with a clear eye. I used to believe I was very objective when it came to something like that, but now I don't know what to believe- what if that isn't the case?

I'm afraid the story is too morbid for a YA audience. Or any audience, to be honest. It's about a dying girl playing grim reaper- so of course, I have her reaping souls. But is all this death too heavy for teens? Do people want to see my perspective of a grim reaper's job- the gritty deaths that show the harshness of reality? People want to escape to happiness, not a morbid truth.

And along those lines, I'm afraid I might be getting too philosophical at some points with sentences like:

"The world would function just fine without me; my existence was in no way pertinent to the well being of the universe. Why was I so convinced that I even mattered?"

...Which is also borderline emo. But the heroine flips back and forth between thinking that life is all she wants, and worrying that it doesn't matter- so I think the message that life and love are worth fighting for is still solid. But I am unsure.

And then I am afraid that I ask too many questions- there's even a question in the sentence above. It's probably something I will have to edit, but I feel like these are important questions the heroine would wonder to herself. The MC is very, very curious, she's lived a very sheltered life, and she's always questioning everything- but when is it too much? (<- QUESTION! See, I can't stop myself)

I'm afraid that I made her grim reaper/angel of death abilities too powerful. She can teleport anywhere, instantly; she can make herself visible or invisible to the world at her discretion; and when she is sent after a soul she gets visions and knowledge of the person dying so she doesn't have to look far for answers. Maybe that much is expected.

So is it too much to allow her to manifest what clothing she might need (jacket, proper shoes) whenever she wants? Is it too much to give her an endless supply of cash? She doesn't use it frivolously at all- just when she wants to eat or do something in the world. She always has the money needed. And she knows that the real world doesn't work that way, and she worries about what she will do for money when she receives her second chance. Does that make it okay?

And then, of course, I worry that the story itself isn't good enough. My biggest fear about that is that the beginning is too different from the ending- it's almost like it's two different stories. See, the MC is given the abilities of an angel of death, and goes after two souls in the beginning. And by beginning I mean the first THIRD of the book. I think that at it's core it's a love story, but the love interest isn't even (properly) introduced until, like, page 100 (standard MS format, prob 30K words or so).

And the love story is the true plot, so that worries me. I don't want it to be a Twilight-esque story: slow, slow, slow, OMG VAMPIRES! WAIT, LOOK- I think the plot is happening now and er, wait, it's over.

So maybe I compare it more to Jumper (the book, not the big budget Hollywood movie that doesn't resemble the book at all)(And by compare I don't mean to imply my writing skills are that good, I mean story/plot style). Jumper starts off steady, he discovers his powers, he establishes his life, then the plot kicks in- romance and government douches and terrorists, oh my! Then again, it doesn't really start off slow, it's more like story establishment that leads into the ending plot- there's always a plot, there's always a purpose. You can always tell the story is going somewhere, you just don't know where exactly.

But maybe I'm worried that the beginning is misleading as to what the overall plot is. And if you're reading it for the overall plot, I'm worried that 100 or some odd pages is too long to wait for the real action to kick into gear.

Ack, alright, I have now confused and discouraged myself enough for one evening. Not to mention that I just wrote about 1,000 words right here in this blog- and those 1,000 words would have served a much better purpose had they been in my MS instead.

So time to get back to writing.

Despite all my fears, I'm not about to give up on the story that I love so much. It might need some fixing, it might need some polishing, but I'm willing to work hard enough to make it work.

Now leave me alone, obsessive paranoia, I have to write 2K words...


  1. We all suffer from doubts and fears about our writing. We even have a word for it Isuckitis.

    The best thing to do? Just write. Don't think about what you've already written. Just keep going. Then, when you're done, give it to your critters and they will tell you everything that's wrong with it.

  2. Captain Hook is right up above. It's called Isuckitis, and I get it at least once a day. I'm learning how to shove it aside and move on. I hate my current manuscript. I think it's a big pile of crap, but I keep working on it.

    Try and get feedback from other readers and make sure you have a cheerleader, that always helps - someone who will cheer you on when you're feeling the worst about your MS.

  3. I agree that you need to write what sounds good to you. I hired a freelance editor who published several memoirs to review my work and give me a 12 page report on my work. The only problem was I still had a lot of growing to do, as far as the basics. That was my situation, which is why I've been taking classes and reading about the craft.

  4. I agree w/ Glam. Are you in a writing group? Feedback can be useful. Of course, the more you get, the more you understand what to take and what to leave.

    The fact that you're questioning your writing is a good sign. It's means you'll willing to take constructive feedback and suggestions, and grow as a writer.

  5. Kat, an important skill for a new writer is to learn to switch off your fearful (and fearsome!) "inner critic". Write what you beleive in, that is, trust your inner vision of your story no matter how much your fears tell you this is wrong or that is wrong. Because, once you learn to trust in your own writing, your confidence in what you write will soar!