In Our Darkest Hour
I’m stuck on Casimir Hypogean. Not like before, either. Truly and fubar sort of stuck. I’m not enjoying the slog, I don’t like what I do manage to get done, and the whole project is sinking my mood.
I find that the most effective of epiphanies are usually the things that seem stupidly obvious in retrospect. Those head-slapping moments of “why the hell didn’t I think of that weeks ago?”
I didn’t think of it weeks ago. In fact, I’m not sure I thought of it at all. The solution stumbled upon me more or less by accident.
I don’t have a deadline with this novel. Just because it was the first novel rough draft I’ve ever written doesn’t mean it needs to be the first final product. There is nothing, as long as I don’t give up on it forever, preventing me from moving on and working on something I’ll enjoy. Clearly Casimir Hypogean needs to get back burnered. The ideas aren’t flowing like they could, the images just aren’t there. I don’t see any need to keep forcing myself.
I have other projects. It was one of these projects that cast the light on this path. I was sitting here at the keyboard, grinding out another couple hundred words that I would most likely just erase tomorrow, when images came to me in my despair. Out of the negative self-talk I love so much started to emerge a character I’d thought of over a year ago. Someone who also is full of negative feelings about himself, someone who leaves his life up to others because he just can’t trust his own decisions.
I quit out of the novel and opened a fresh page. A couple hours and 3444 words later, and I have two chapters of whatever this story is. I don’t think it will be novel length. I’m guessing it will be novella at best. I’m hoping for about 30k words, I think that will be enough to tell the story.
In some ways I’m in the infancy of my writing life. The writing I did in grade school and high school, it was the baby steps. I was fitting shapes into other shapes. Now I’m a toddler, learning to walk. Learning that there is a whole huge world outside myself and figuring out how to relate to it.
I get to be a child again. I don’t have to decide right now what works and what doesn’t. I’m a freshman in this world. I’m still in that stage where I can be anything. I’m reborn, remade.
In the desperate race to get something done so I can start the submission/publishing phase of life, I’ve been ignoring the gift that is this time of being an infant, of being unknown, unvetted. I don’t have to do one thing or the other.
I just have to write.
Seems stupidly obvious now, doesn’t it?