The Canadian Writers' Collective

Writing, and writerly tangents

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Writing Up a Storm

By accident I imposed a pretty serious deadline on myself. I submitted an excerpt for a project that I thought was for writers in the beginning stages of a book. It turns out it’s for writers in the polishing stages. So, if I make it through the first round, the next thing they’ll ask me for is the entire manuscript. The request could come any day. So I’ve been spending every second writing. There’s no time to stop to ask if it’s any good. This is a blessed relief from my internal critic, who makes Simon Cowell look like the Dalai Lama. You call that a sentence? It’s like a sentence some drunk dad singing karoke at a white trash wedding on a cruise ship might squeak out between REO Speedwagon covers—and never mind your hair! Did you do it yourself with a lawnmower? Or did you lose a battle with rabid squirrels over nesting rights to your head? Plus, you’re really fat.

Also, I’m in the middle of trying to get over somebody, and writing is a superb break from brooding. Strange how all the characters seem to be mourning lost love opportunities. That wasn’t in the outline!

Anyway, constructing this post has put me behind a chapter, so I’m going to have to make my lead character retrace her steps- that way I can just cut and paste an entire section. Just head the repetition with: "Justine wondered if she'd missed something. I’ll just start at the beginning, she thought, and try to do everything exactly the same. (Insert previous section). No, she hadn’t missed anything after all. Funny that, she thought." You call that plot development? Who are you? The Brian Eno of Canadian literature? More like the Brian Wilson. How can you fit those fat fingers on the keyboard? That might explain some of your prose, spillover typing from your portly digits. And that outfit! You look like a gay gas station attendant whose developmentally challenged younger brother drew all over his overalls and then threw up on his hair. Plus, you’re still really fat.

Back to work!


Anonymous Shaula said...

> "Anyway, constructing this post has put me behind a chapter, so I’m going to have to make my lead character retrace her steps- that way I can just cut and paste an entire section."

Brilliant thought!

Are you familiar with the BBC comedy series Little Britain? They do a marvelous send up of Barbara Cartland where she does this sort of thing all the time.

Clearly something you need to watch AFTER you survive your crazy writing deadline.

Wed Sep 10, 05:44:00 pm GMT-4  
Blogger Tricia Dower said...

I do that sometimes. Put pressure on myself when I really didn't need to. But, in this case, maybe your inner self told your writing hand that a deadline was just what was needed.

Good luck!

Thu Sep 11, 12:21:00 am GMT-4  
Anonymous martin heavisides said...

Call that a cut and paste! Why not go really postmodern and repeat the same few pages in different orders a hundred times? That's all writing is anyway, practice practice practice, wanking wanking wanking.
(That was my Simon Cowell. Best of luck making the deadline.)

Thu Sep 11, 06:38:00 am GMT-4  
Blogger T. Lee said...

This has worked for me before. The procrastinator in me appreciated it in the end. The perfectionist in me was right pissed off, though.

Fri Sep 12, 01:47:00 pm GMT-4  

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