01 Nov

I hate it when I’m writing a scene and it doesn’t feel right. It just bothers me, it feels like I’m writing a bad scene badly and am unsure of how to fix it. Usually, I just quit writing and go do something else. I didn’t today, partially because of the Debacle, mostly because I haven’t written in days and days and I want to write, damn it.

But the further I get, the worse the scene seems, and then I start thinking “Just slop it through and get on to the next scene,” but I have nothing for the next scene except the need to convey some basic information, and —


Mostly, I think it’s because I’m sick. My brain isn’t running properly enough to pick up the pieces and turn them into a really good scene. This is what usually happens. So I wind up sulking around the house staring at a crappy scene that isn’t getting any better, and I wind up being a grim, grouchy writer.

Who also goes *SNORRRRKKKK* every ten seconds because his nose won’t stop running no matter what.


So I consider switching over and writing the beginning of The Nondescript, but I have a feeling that’ll come out poorly too. It’s not necessarily the scene, or the writing, it’s just my head not functioning properly.

I’ll be over here, on the couch, with tissues and American Gods which seems like a good book to read when I’m sick.

And my Sunny D.


Proof that I’m sick is that I sent this post off without talking about the point I was trying to make.

When you have a scene that isn’t working and is crap, don’t just delete it. Even if you do get rid of it, be sure to stop and consider your own status first. If I’m writing a perfectly good scene, but it seems like garbage because I’m sick, then it does nothing but harm my work if I delete it now.

When I was still writing internet serials — way before God in the Machine — I had a storyline in the end of the first season of a series. I wrote four episodes of it and it was a terrific story, but it went to places I didn’t want to go to yet, and some of the scenes started to fall apart, and I knew I was writing crap…but for the first time, I didn’t delete them. I just put them away in a folder and went back four episodes and started writing in a new direction.

(A thought: That shows I used to write faster, at least. Four episodes would be around sixty thousand words.)

Later, I came back and enjoyed both the storyline I wound up writing…but also, the storyline I had left behind after four episodes. I wish I’d had a use for it, I think it was a pretty good story and it gave me a chance to do things with characters I would have enjoyed later.

So: The moral I’m muddying my way to here is, don’t delete. Check yourself, doubt your ability to judge your own writing, and put it in a folder and let it sit for awhile. If you come back way later and it still sucks, kill it.

Okay, now off to the couch.


Posted by on November 1, 2007 in Uncategorized


9 responses to “Blech

  1. MidnightMuse

    November 1, 2007 at 3:07 pm

    For a week I made that “Fknorkle” sound, too, and didn’t write a single word. That’s why I said I was taking that “athelete before the marathon” approach, and not writing until THIS morning. I couldn’t trust myself to think clearly with that head cold, and I didn’t want to muck up what I’m hoping will turn out to be a pretty decent spinoff series.

    I’ve learned, the hard way, not to delete, but simply to Cut and then Paste those bits I didn’t like into a file I can store away somewhere. I figure they’re words, they’re MY words, so they have to be of value at some point. Even if that point is another story entirely.

    Have some nyquil and relax. It’s only the 1st.

  2. Arachne Jericho

    November 1, 2007 at 3:35 pm

    Agree, don’t delete things; put them somewhere else. My cuttings tend to come back in a different form later in the story, or inspire a twist here or there.

    I keep pushing through. Scenes that are coming, I think and work through in my head during the day, accompanied by appropriate soundtrack, sometimes.

    Feel better soon, Pete. This thing, it’s nasty.

  3. tjwriter

    November 1, 2007 at 3:35 pm

    Get a sink full of the hottest water you can find and stick your head over it while covering both you and the sink with a towel. Then breathe. Deeply.

    Or take strong cold medicine, stick tissues up your nose, and take a nap. I know that feeling you’re having and it sucks. But thanks to getting back to us with that point. I can’t part with anything. I still have handwritten stories I started when I was like 8 or 10.

  4. ahibert

    November 1, 2007 at 7:55 pm

    Take lots and lots of naps. I’ve an eye infection and a goddamned cold, but naps always get me running for at least an hour before I have to nap again. I feel like a newborn.

  5. Pete Tzinski

    November 1, 2007 at 8:41 pm

    …My god, we’re all dying of the plague, aren’t we? 🙂

    I took all sorts of cold pills and cold syrups and all sorts of stuff that I found around the house (not all at once, mind you, I waited out my doses) and nothing did anything useful. Then, about half an hour ago, I took Roubitossen and a hot bath and when I got out, my sinuses cleared and my brain worked for the first time all day. It’s not perfect running, but I no longer feel like a failure of a writer and I have faith that, given a dose of that god-awful-tasting stuff, I can run worthwhile tomorrow. Maybe.

    For the record: When you’re sick and depressed at your writing because of being sick…a book like American Gods does not help. Read a BAD book. 😀

  6. Lori

    November 1, 2007 at 10:45 pm

    I’m not sick. I even had a wonderful workout at aikido this evening, then stopped by the store and bought lots of healthy stuff.

  7. Arachne Jericho

    November 2, 2007 at 12:13 am

    101 reasons to stop writing needs a variant on the Shakespeare demotivator (“You will never be this good. You’re not even Titus Andronicus good, much less Hamlet good.”).

    Maybe “You will never be this good. You’re not even Neverwhere good, much less American Gods good.”

    :cries in her corner:

  8. MidnightMuse

    November 2, 2007 at 8:04 am

    Midol and Martinis is my recipe for this evening. Of course, that’s AFTER a day of writing. And I make a point of not reading while I’m writing – especially while I’m writing in a contest! Unless it’s something truly bad, that makes me feel like a writerly god.

  9. Pete Tzinski

    November 2, 2007 at 8:35 am

    I have this feeling Midol won’t do me any good. 🙂


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