Tim Pratt
SF and Fantasy Writer

Strategic Withdrawal

Those of you following along at home may have noticed that my attempt to get a lot of novel writing done this month fizzled mightily. In the end, while I had some fun scenes and good lines, the novel just wasn’t working for me — the characters were lifeless on the page, and the plot began to feel ever-more-contrived. Forcing my way forward seemed like a bad idea — there’s something to be said for persistence, but I had the feeling I’d be wasting a whole month instead of just wasting a couple of weeks if I kept going.

It’s always possible I’ll look at the pages I wrote again in a few months and discover they’re not so bad (it’s also possible that after re-examination I’ll consign them to a folder labeled “fragments” and never look upon them again), but either way, I’m putting it aside for now. It’s not any sort of “writer’s block” (whatever that is, exactly) — I wrote (and co-wrote) stories quite happily during this time. The book just wasn’t ripe. The characters were wrong, and if the characters are wrong, it just doesn’t work for me.

When you’re deriving no pleasure from the book you’re supposed to be writing for pleasure, it might be a good idea to stop writing.

I am still itching to start a new project, though; fortunately I have a couple of novels I need to write next year, so I may just start on one of those a little early.

It’s too bad. I’ve wanted to write this book for years, and I still like the central idea, but I need to think more about the characters being wildly inconvenienced by that idea before I push forward again.

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