Sunday, 29 May 2011

The Art of Struggling

The art of struggling to achieve some success comes at a price of over exhaustion, lying down seemingly forever and unable to keep your eyes open until the day is gone, and all you had was some hours very early in the morning spent stacking shelves in a department store. Of course, this price may or may not be worth the outcome. Depending on what outcome you're after.

I, for one, am after at least some success with my writing. I'm struggling now because it makes me so tired and frustrated. That I don't know what I'm doing and that self-doubt, no matter how how much the rule insists that you avoid such a fear, is always present like a shadow.

I suppose it's with knowing every word and every sentence I've written of my novel so far. Like when you repeat a word over and over until it loses meaning. There is nothing else but what it is. I have nothing else but the words. And it's annoying when it gets to the point that I only have the words and other people who read it can see more into it. People who can tell me if it's good or if it's not good enough and in retrospect I then see it. It's like I'm staring at a brick wall and my friends look through a window.

I've written 27 chapters so far. That's about 40,000 words. It is in first person present tense. It was originally in present, I changed it to past, and I changed it back to present. I was going to change it back because I've read some people don't like first person present tense and that it's too intimate and almost suffocating. Terry Pratchett said this and I'm not a fan anyway. My friend said the present tense is much better.

The only books I know of in this tense are Fight Club and One Flew Over a Cuckoo's Nest. Also, Black House by King and Straub, which is a long novel and I read that ages ago, I'd totally forgotten it was written this way. So if I was to write in this tense I would be in a small group of novels that do have a kind of style to them. And another friend of mine, who is further into his novel, said that mine did have a style to it. The immediate voice, introspective and funny, all come from the immediacy.

It's kind of poetic to say things happening right now, though it is close to second person like most poems are written in. Most short stories are present tense. I do write like this naturally though. I like to write 'he says' or 'she says' and be so immediate and intimate as if the narrative is my actual thoughts. And I suppose some writers can get away with it only if they pull it off really well. And I think I'm able to. People can be deterred when told they're not good enough. Though, I wish I wouldn't tell myself I'm not good enough. Maybe I should stop re-reading my work so much.

No comments: