Running Away From a Story

On Friday, I went and saw my doctor and I received three vaccinations at once: Flu, Covid, and the 2nd Shingles shot. By the afternoon, I was feeling the effects and had to stop working a little early. I laid my head down on my couch and passed out. When I woke up, I was shivering, even though it was 70 in the house. I went to bed early, hoping I would feel better the next day, because I had a lot to do on Saturday.

When I woke up, I wasn’t shivering, but I still felt hot. I made it through the day and all of the events I needed to attend, including my critique group in the afternoon. We went over my short story, The Psychic on the Jury, which is a follow-up to The Repossessed Ghost. They enjoyed it for the most part, which is fair since it’s an early draft that I haven’t had a chance to really revise yet. Maybe I’ll revise it in December.

One of my goals this weekend is to finish the outline for the next Mel Walker novel, which at the moment is called The Psychic Out of Time. I talked about it with my friends on Saturday, and I had every intention of working on in Saturday evening, after the critique.

I didn’t work on it, though. I didn’t feel well, which is a valid excuse. Melissa and I went to bed early and we got caught up on season 2 of Loki.

It’s now Sunday morning, and I don’t have much time. If I don’t finish this outline, I can’t do NaNoWriMo. I could try, but I would fail. I would get about 5k, maybe 10k written, then lose my way, flounder, and give up. I would add it to my long list of stories I hope to finish, eventually.

I feel quite a bit better this morning, though still not at 100%. The shoulder where they gave me the Shingles shot really hurts. I’m finding it difficult to sit at the table in front of my laptop. I keep getting up and walking away from everything, and I keep asking myself, “Don’t you want to work on this story?!?”

Do I want to work on this story?

I think I do, but there is so much uncertainty around it, and I think it’s going to be complicated and a difficult one to pull off. It’s a sequel, which means it has a very limited potential for sales, and I already feel like I’m struggling to reach a wider audience. It’s Urban Fantasy, and I typically think of myself as a SciFi writer.

On the other hand, I’ve been thinking about this story off and on for 10 years. There are a couple of characters I can’t wait to write. And, I enjoy Mel. As someone in my critique group put it, he’s a “dirtbag idiot” and dirtbag idiots getting up to shenanigans is almost always a good time.

I was supposed to write a different post today, but I think I needed to write this. First, it’s another excuse to not be working on the outline, which in my current state, I was ready to jump on. Second, this is allowing me to talk my way around the story and try to address some of the fears and concerns that are at the back of my mind, that I haven’t really wanted to deal with. The things that are ultimately getting in the way of working on the story in the first place.

If I don’t finish the outline today, I’m not going to participate in NaNoWriMo, and it will be that much longer before there is another Mel Walker story to submit to Water Dragon for consideration. The stakes are set. Now I just need to bootstrap my way into getting into the story elements, so I can conjure an outline, and maybe fall in love with this new story.

That’s the trick, by the way. That’s the secret sauce. It’s why writers can be so defensive of their work.

Unless you’re some sort of masochist, a writer must love the story they’re working on. They’re giving up parts of their lives in order to take an idea and a pile of words and turn them into something that can be shared and enjoyed by others.

A writer can get tired of working on a story. They can get bored with certain parts of the writing process. But to see a story through, from first draft to final revision, a writer must love the story that they’re creating. Without that love, I can only imagine some sort of cruel abomination coming out the other side of the writing process.

If the writer does not love what they’re writing, how can they expect the reader to love it as well?

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