09 January 2008


I have been puttering around, making virtually no headway on To Be An Evil Overlord... for nearly six weeks now. In that time, I've written less than 10,000 words. In fact, I've done only just over eight thousand.

That is pathetic.

I mean, I wrote over fifty thousand in November. How can I not write the five or so more that I need to finish the damn book? Seriously, what is wrong with me?

Thusly have I been beating my self over the non-literal head for the past few weeks. To no avail. Do I have a finished manuscript? No.

But tonight, I had a brainwave. I was sitting there, reading Lazette Gifford's Two Year Novel, and all of a sudden something I'd read in Holly Lisle's Create-a-Plot Clinic combined with what I was reading and hit me full force.

See, the muse is a tricky little beast. It doesn't like work, or discipline, or any other of those little nasties that the conscious brain imposes upon it.

And I realised: I can't finish the book because my subconscious - that pesky muse - is afraid of how much work it's going to be to rewrite it. It knows that once I've finished the next thing is rewrites, and that scares it.

"...Rewrites? You've got to be kidding. To rewrite this story you're going to need to add in SO much stuff. You need to weave all those things that happened in the middle into the beginning. You need to solidify the characterisation and make sure it's there from the beginning. You need to iron out the sub plots and make them logical and coherent. You drastically need to time-check the whole thing, and you need to deal with the horrendous amount of POV characters you have. And what the heck happened to the ferret? Seriously? Sounds like a heck of a lot of work to me. Rewrites? Uh uh. Not me. Not today. No thanks.

So, you see, it's probably better if you don't finish. If you don't finish, you can just think about all the stuff you'll need to do, but not actually have to do it. You can say - yes I know the book's not perfect, it's only a first draft - and it will all be okay. I mean, I'm not trying to sabotage you here or anything. You know you can finish it. It's a measly six scenes, right? And you did nearly thirty during nano. So it's not like you're doing it coz you can't.

Besides, you're bored with it anyway, remember? Why don't you try working on these cool stories... They're so much more fun. The plotting is fun, remember? And you love the writing..."

At this point I nearly choke, recalling how many times during nano I hated the fact that I wanted to be a writer, and hated the fact that I had to sit down to write. Muses. Yerk.

Perhaps now I've established the problem, I can devise a solution. I'll let you know how I go with that...

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