Festering piles

No, not the kind you can treat with a discreet cream and an inflatable rubber ring, I'm taking about festering piles of poo. AKA writing and works in progress. There was a post on Casa De Goldberg the other day quoting John Connolly and what he calls 'The Wall': that point in writing a book that gives him an attack of screaming willies. Everything is crap -- plot, characters, premise, everything. Now Lee mentions that this (in his experience) seems to be a more common complaint among those writers who make stuff up as they go along, rather than plot and plan in advance. Which sort of makes sense. If you know exactly where your book's going, you should be confident in your plot and characters. Yeah?

Well, no. I plan. Believe it or not, I actually planned heaps for NDC. Mountains of plans. Like unto the EU plan mountain my study is. Only trouble being I abandoned half of it somewhere around chapter two. What looked perfectly logical and sensible in advance, didn't feel the way I wanted it to when I started writing. So two HUGE subplots got cut from the book before I'd written a word of either of them. And then I re-planned.

This is an old Project Management trick -- if your plan isn't working, you come up with a new plan. One that's realistic. What you don't do is charge ahead blindly, hoping to God everything's suddenly going to fall into place and the plan will work again. As soon as you step off that path, the plan is worthless. But the point of this rambling nonsense is that I plan. I seat of the pants and I plan. Both at the same time.

And I'm still convinced that everything I write is a huge steaming pile of festering arse (and I know the RFFF will back me up on that). I get the feeling most of us feel the same way at least once during a project, no matter how well we plan, because we're human. Unless we're complete ego-monsters with supreme confidence in our own ability, I suppose.

Maybe there are people who look out across the veldt of publishing and laugh at the writing pigmies, worrying all over the place. Making it look untidy. They are not like the pigmies, because they're feckin' rhinoceroses! Yea, rhinoceroses with Range Rovers (automatic ones because they don't have opposable thumbs and find manual gear sticks hard to use), thundering through the long grass, blaring their horns and shouting for all the world to hear: "I AM FECKIN' BRILLIANT, FOR I AM A RHINO! I NEVER GET THE FEAR!"

How cool would that be? Rhinoceroses driving Range Rovers, shadowing film crews as they graze upon the shrubs, or laze in the sun after a particularly hard edit. But they'd have to be careful: film crews can be violent if aroused and may charge the rhino's car, denting the body work and leaving long scratches in the paintwork with their cameras and sunglasses.

Yeah, so, the point is...

Nope, I've forgotten. Maybe it'll come back to me after lunch?