It’s perhaps poetic irony or a piece of cosmic synergy that I finish reading Infinite Crisis on my Android phone the moment my own ‘crisis’ emerges.
For those of you who don’t know, I’ve been wrestling with a crisis of confidence this past few weeks and it all really came to a head this bank holiday weekend. In two days when I should have been knocking out between 2,000 and 3,000 words, I did almost nothing. I just couldn’t get myself motivated and hit one of those appalling moments when everything you read that you’ve written just looks like the most abyssal shit ever.
‘Get some perspective,’ I hear you cry. You’re right of course and after getting back to work today and looking again in the cold light of dawn what I’ve done, I can say that Nocturneis looking fooking great. Naysayers can piss right off; I’m coming out fighting.
It’s funny, the first piece of advice I usually give to wannabe writers is ‘read’ and then ‘write’ (sounds obviously, doesn’t it?), but what I should really say, as a caveat to that sound if slightly useless arrow-pointing, is ‘believe’. You’ve got to believe in yourself and persevere. If you don’t – forget it now; you’re screwed mate. Sorry.
Weathering those slings and arrows is what it’s all about. In a world as big as ours (and yet so infinitesimal in the grander scheme), there are going to be some douche bags. It stands to reason. Don’t listen to them. Keep on moving. Up, up and away!
So, yeah, after some nice comments (thank you, people, from the bottom of my heart – and I really mean that), and a bit of pep talk, I’m back in the game.
I’m slogging through the finale to be honest, but that’s how it always goes. Getting over the finish line and getting started are the two toughest bits, only marginally harder to overcome than the midway slump and the first, second and third act mini-crisis. What can I say? It’s a bloody minefield. You work largely in isolation and don’t get chance to see how your best laid plans have fared against the enemy until it’s too late to change them. Welcome to being an author, baby.
I think the problem I’ve got with Nocturne right now is that I’m over the 100k mark and still don’t quite know when it’s going to end. I said to myself before I started, ‘I’m looking at 110,000 to 120,000 words here’. I still think that’s going to be the case but when you’ve had two deadline extensions and your pushing 105,000 with a bunch of stuff left to do you A) don’t want to rush it and B) will be kind of glad when it’s over.
It’s a question of ‘doing justice’, I think. There are so many characters to get in there, so many storylines I want to provide some kind of closure for as well as building to a fooking big dust-up between Dak’ir and Tsu’gan (those two have got to throw down, haven’t they?).
Considering this ‘work’ as a whole, and I say ‘work’ opposed to trilogy because of the sheer number of integral and interconnected short stories that I’ve written about and around the Tome of Fire, there’s no great surprise that rounding off this chapter, as it were, was going to be a challenge.
I want to do more, that much I do know. Graham has his Ultramarines and their multiple arcs, Dan has Gaunt’s Ghosts, Aaron’s got the Night Lords (still not ruled out an interconnected trilogy with those swines either, if ADB is up for it), I guess I have the Salamanders or at least my little bit of it.
Knowing what I know about the trilogy’s denouement, some thoughts are already starting to populate my brain with potential story strands embedded. Nothing concrete yet, not even an antagonist but some ideas none-the-less. It’ll probably be a while; I have some other books to write first, not least of which is the mainstream crime novel I promised myself. I’m about 10,000 words into that and committed to writing it when I head off into the wilds for another writer’s retreat next month.
So, yeah, rolling with the punches and coming back for another round. I’ve still got a little way to go on Nocturne but if I dig in I know I can put this monster to bed.
Take it easy.