Saturday, February 18, 2006

Anticipation or Avoidance?

So I've been trying since November to write the end of Act 2 of Hero Go Home, and I realized I wanted to do more scene-setting for the big climax to the act. So now I've got a bunch of scenes lightly sketched in which build toward the climactic confrontation.

On the one hand, I think it's necessary for the story to have a certain amount of build-up. It's like foreplay; a certain amount of teasing works well. I think one of the better passages of Blue Falcon is the long build-up to war at the end of Act 1, climaxing in Colonel So's rousing speech and the soldiers shouting "Victory" in unison. The book as a whole embarrasses me a little more with every passing month, but I still think parts of it are really good.

On the other hand, it strikes me that I'm spending so much time on the build-up because I'm a little hesitant, if not downright afraid, to write the actual climax. It's a complicated scene with a bunch of characters and a load of action, and my mind just seems to shut down every time I contemplate starting it. Maybe a part of me thinks that if I spend enough pages setting all the dominoes up, that they'll fall that much faster when I finally tip one, but I worry that the other part is just using the dominoes as an excuse, the way my daughter suddenly finds vitally important things to do right at bedtime.

Then again, as I began writing the first of the build-up scenes, I found the characters really breathing in a way that they never did when I was rushing through, trying to keep up NaNoWriMo pace. So it's not as if I'm not getting anything valuable out of it.

In other news, I experienced a couple of cool personal milestones. I got invited to a NeoPro online writers group, which made me feel really good. Of course, now that I've joined, I feel a little like an imposter, a kid being asked to sit at the grown-ups' table. I'm not sure I take the whole writing game as seriously as most of these guys. But I'll stick it out for a while, at least; I must admit, the discussion there is on a whole other level than most of what I was reading on Baen's Bar.

The other thing is, I got invited to my first Con as a guest. Granted, it's Conestoga, put together mainly by folks in my writing group. Last year, I was about the only member who wasn't an invited guest. But it's another signpost to me that I'm making legitimate progress and not just spinning my wheels the way I did for for the fifteen or so years before I joined OSFW.

I've always thought my stuff was good, but lots of people delude themselves. I've seen lots of people who thought they were awesomely talented while they produced pure crap, if they actually produced anything at all. And I've always had this secret fear that I could be one of them (I still do, actually - I've never been good with the characters and the themes and the substance that makes the witty lines and funny turns of phrase worth reading - Sargon, feel free to slap me anytime). So it's awfully gratifying when someone else comes out and says I'm doing good work.

Now I've just got to do some more actual writing to pay off on that.

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