Rome wasn’t burned in a day

03 Nov

I have never had so much trouble or difficulty with a story as I do with Rome. Rome has been nothing but trouble, trouble, trouble every step of the way. From struggling to write things while trying to do research at the same time to make sure I knew what I was writing about, to problems like I’m having now.

I know my ending, every scene from now to conclusion, but the further I get into actually writing it, the less I realize all of these scenes have to say, the less interested I am in the ending. I just sat down and tried to outline each scene from now to the end, just giving a line of what the scene’s are about and even outlining them left me going “Ugh…these are not good. How boring.”

If it were short stories, or a serial, it would work, and if there were problems, I would know the shape of scenes which could fix them. I’m not sure why the skills of one medium can’t be carried over comfortably to the other.

Or rather, carried over to this project. I can already see where my serial skills are appearing in my research and outlining-ish work for The Nondescript. That novel’s been a breeze to figure out, and it already has the feel of a work that’ll be a dream to write. It also grows longer as I realize I have more and more stories to tell in the shape of the novel. I’m really looking forward to it.

Really looking forward to it doesn’t make it any easier to work on Rome, though. When given a choice between slogging through mud (probably full of leeches) or frolicking in the tulips, most people know which one they would choose. (In my case, I would try to stride manfully through the tulips, for the look of things. So we’re clear.)

And that’s my rant for the day. How are you?


Posted by on November 3, 2007 in Uncategorized


11 responses to “Rome wasn’t burned in a day

  1. ahibert

    November 3, 2007 at 11:25 am

    I’m rather pleased with how my NaNo novel is coming, which is a first because I usually hate every single word I write. My fingers are already killing me, though, and it seems my cold and eye infection are here to stay. Oh, and I think I might’ve also caught a stomach virus. Sweet, isn’t it?

    Now THAT’s my rant for the day.

  2. Pete Tzinski

    November 3, 2007 at 11:30 am

    Maaan, enough with this sick business. I’m mostly back up and running, though I’m still weak and tire out pretty quickly (and my voice is not stable enough to allow for public readings, which is fine, since nobody is asking me to).

    Still, I’m GLAD you’re happy with your NaNo novel. Stephen King said “Writing a novel is like crossing the Atlantic in a bathtub: There’s plenty of time for self doubt.” And it’s true. And that’s not encouraging, is it?


  3. Arachne Jericho

    November 3, 2007 at 1:15 pm

    Hey Pete. Yeah, you’re finishing up a novel. If this is a bit discouraging to you, maybe you should hit the new novel so that you aren’t more discouraged when the word count day comes.

    I know that’s not according to plan, but it might help.

    You probably don’t need advice from a neophyte like me, but perhaps it will help if you take your current plot line and give it a good sharp twist. Bend it in a non-obvious way, and then bend it again in yet another direction. Two twists ought to do it.

    Or drink some ginger tea, man…. or gingko. I have something entitled “Think O2” that I’m gonna try this afternoon.

    Binaural noise?

    The fact that you can write 10k a day and catch up to the rest of us easy?

    A self reward?

    Or, perhaps you need this, Something Other Than Anything To Do With Writing? I’m serious.

    :waves shiny fountain pen on stick in front of Pete:

    Go rest up and stop worrying. πŸ™‚

  4. Pete Tzinski

    November 3, 2007 at 1:25 pm

    I’m off and happily writing the beginning of The Nondescript. And I don’t see where your advice is worth anything less, neophyte or not. Good advice is good advice, all across the board.

    I figure I won’t make my self-deadline on Rome (next Friday), but I’ll finish writing it by hand. That lets me work out the kinks as they appear, and work on the scenes a little better. Since the Nondescript is easy and sweet as a dream, I can roll quite a long way with that, on the computer. Easy peasy.

    There. Now i can haz fownten penz plz?

  5. Arachne Jericho

    November 3, 2007 at 1:41 pm

    :tosses fountain pen at Pete:

    Have fun! πŸ˜€

    And I file with rank more often than not. I’ve seen advice from others in my league, and I know that some of it is pretty horrible. And I wonder what kind of horrible advice I’m giving that I don’t have the experience to see.

    It helps if it’s backed up by Swain or Bell or Card or Maas. But this is just straight from the heart, and is what I’ve been doing all along in my own novel.

    I get bored so easily.

    Dropping in guys with guns is not enough.

    Dropping in guys who think they’re aliens but are really deluded demons with poor gun experience into the middle of a Catholic sermon at the secret commands of the local Cardinal to test out the skills of the pastor who is actually a demon hunter except that the Cardinal *spoiler* *spoiler* *you can probably guess regardless*, though… priceless.

  6. Pete Tzinski

    November 3, 2007 at 2:13 pm

    THAT would just blow up my Rome novel. Oh god… πŸ™‚

    Advice from the heart is enough for me. And it’s all filtered through the same filter, which is “If it works, use it, if it doesn’t, don’t.” And that applies to your advice, Card’s advice, Maas’s advice, King, etc.

    Excuse me, crying child. (I’m not calling you a crying child, I have to go pick up a crying child.)

  7. tjwriter

    November 3, 2007 at 4:02 pm

    My day has sucked ass and I haven’t written a word. For all kinds of reasons I won’t even bother to begin to list.

  8. MidnightMuse

    November 3, 2007 at 5:13 pm

    Well today so far I haven’t penned a word past some blog comments, but I’m planning to get several pages done between now and when I have to get up and make stir fry for dinner.

    I agree, advice from the heart is the bestest kind – and if setting Rome off to the left so you can happily frolick through those tulips (or stride manfully) then it’s good that you do it. I’ve hit that wall before, and it’s killer! It’ll suck the life right out of the novel, and you can’t let that happen when you’re so close.

    Just imagine how fantastic it’ll feel to have something that gave you such fits toward the end turn out to be the best seller that gets all the attention and book signings πŸ˜€

  9. Soccer Mom

    November 3, 2007 at 7:46 pm

    There is nothing wrong with taking a busman’s vacation from your WIP. It might be just think to rekindle the love for Rome.

    Enjoy your manly tulips.

  10. Pete Tzinski

    November 3, 2007 at 7:58 pm

    I think that the odds of a Roman Empire alternate history novel becoming a bestseller are really, really, really slim.

    (But, in my heart of hearts, I have secret quiet hopes that The NonDescript could be a bestseller. Don’t tell anyone!)

  11. mscelina

    November 3, 2007 at 11:08 pm

    Honestly, Pete, I would so buy any novel set in Rome. I’ve always wanted to write something set in Rome (ohgodilovemyromansyesido) but so far the Muse has not directed me to the Capitoline…dangit. It’s a shame too. My academic background is shamelessly classical (I used to be able to name all fifty of Actaeon’s dogs–you know, the ones who killed him) but I just can’t bring myself to do it.


    Take a break from it. Write for fun. And then, just when TGTD is getting tight, go back to Rome and agonize over EVERY…SINGLE … WORD.

    Just kidding. πŸ˜‰


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