BIC. Hero? Intensity. Kill Off A Character. No Duh. BS. Ruthless Words. Transitions. Five Senses. Immediacy. No Excuses. No Fear.

First week: BIC. Hero? Intensity and POF (presumption of failure).
Second week: Kill Off A Character. No Duh. BS.
Third week: Ruthless Words. Transitions. Five Senses.
Fourth week: Immediacy.
Now : No Excuses. No Fear.

These two are vastly different from the other swing tips. And these two hurt. They are internal, they are part of me. They may not appear inside any of you. But for me they are the most real things in the world. My own personal dragons to slay. The nitty-gritty of what goes on inside me at the *worst* writing times. Like now. Skinwalker is out, officially. I am doing PR and interviews, like the one at David B Coes’s LJ site today (thank you David! Hugs!) and an ongoing one for romance writers which I’ll post here later in full. *And* I have a 17 day turn around for a major rewrite on Blood Cross that is wrapping my head around inside. I am at the end of what little energy and stamina I have. So, today, especially, these are for real for me.

  1. No Excuses:  This isn’t something that I look for in every scene, but rather something that I look for, watch for, see coming, in every manuscript, and again in every rewrite. It is the time, the one single dark moment, when I want to stop. When that moment hits, it is paralyzing. It steals over me in a heavy cloud. I know that I haven’t reached the goal for that day. I am at that point in the manuscript or rewrites where nothing, but nothing, seems to be going right. Every bit of dialogue is flat, the final scene is a hundred pages away, or the little things in the rewrite are done and now I have to tackle the big things and they look like a *mountain* of work and I don’t see the end. Not anywhere. I am tired. Drained. Close to the edge. It is just too hard to go on. It is also when the dreaded but nonexistent Writers Block usually appears. If I didn’t have a contract and a freaking deadline I’d shove it under the bed, close the file, burn the paperwork, and quit. Find something else to write. Something that works. Something fun. Something shiny and new. God, I *hate* this manuscript, this character this story. I Just. Want. To. Stop. Yeah. Me. I want to quit. Usually I say, “No play until I do the job.” BIC, right? Usually. Well, No Excuses is indeed similar to BIC. But it is more. It is that thing inside a commercial writer that separates him from a happy dilettante. I don’t have any wise words for you here. I don’t know why some writers push on through and finish a book or a rewrite and why some give up. I don’t know. But for me it is No Excuses. It is when I keep working even when I hate it. It is what drives me back to the keyboard or the hard copy to *finish the damn book*.  No. Freaking. Excuses.
  2. No Fear:  This, too, isn’t a scene by scene tip I watch for. It is internal and amorphous and nebulous. It is pride. It is worry. It is the old pocketbook. It is fear that I may never write again or may never sell another book. It wakes me up in the middle of the night. It brings on depression if am not careful—and I’ve struggled with depression many times in my life so I can see it coming. But no one can help me with my fears. They are mine to do with as I please. Mine – to do with as I please. I can fight them, injure them, slay them, treat them with medication. But I must always remember that my fear is owned by me, not the other way around. I *can* do this! There *will* be another story. And if I have to start my career over again someday, well, practice makes perfect. I’ve done that before and I can do it again. Because *by God* I am writer.
    No Fear.




16 comments to SWING TIPS Pt 5

  • >>I *can* do this! There *will* be another story. And if I have to start my career over again someday, well, practice makes perfect. I’ve done that before and I can do it again. Because *by God* I am writer.
    No Fear.<<

    Amen. At the end of the day, the committed writer looks at the easy path — the one that says, "Screw this. I don't have to put up with this crap anymore. I can just walk away and find another, less insane way to make a living" — and turns away from that path to follow the hard one, the one that makes you sweat and bleed, the one that makes you write. Because living any other way — living without the written word — is simply unthinkable.

    Best of luck with the release today, Faith. We're all pulling for you and for Jane Yellowrock

  • These are, I think, the two best writing tips I’ve ever read.

  • Beatriz

    It’s out today? ~mad, insane fangirl squeals of joy~

    Thank you, Faith, for No Excuses and No Fear. Because you’ve stuck with it, I’ve had countless hours of reading pleasure, you helped save me on one truly horrific day, and told stories that ring in my head.

    I’m looking forward to diving into Jane’s tale.

  • Thank you for this. I so needed to read this and know that I’m not alone. I’m at the very beginning of the path you are walking. Newly agented, manuscript being shopped. I vacillate between terror and anxiety, fear of failure and fear of success.

    Those internal demons are the worst and I’ve managed to push through them to finish 5 novels. Now I’ve just got to keep the faith and believe that one is going to break through and get published.

  • These are awesome and they really struck me today, when I was feeling the whole “fear–give up” thing. Sometimes the whole process is relentlessly overwhelming. Then again, what worth doing isn’t, at least some of the time?

  • Sarah Adams

    Hear hear! These two attitudes (and a cadre of amazing friends) were what got me through my dissertation. It may sound cheesy, but I used to recite that mantra from Dune – “fear is the little death, fear is the mind killer” to keep the overwhelming fear of failure at bay. And this morning I was just looking at my WIP and thinking “AAAAAGH. It all sucks! Failure! Doom! Boring Crap” so I needed the reminder in a big, big way.

  • David, thank you understanding,and for the kind words about release. Skinwalker is bouncing off the shelves in the stores where that fantastic cover can be seen. In the stores where it’s hidden back on a shelf…well, I’m still hoping. Yes, it is an insane way to make a living!

    Anthony, without them there is no book, at least not for me.

    Beatriz (Miz M) you make my day!

  • My biggest is biggest fear (might be strange) is not having a beta who a sf reader.

  • LJ, you said it. These are internal demons, little voices of failure and doom. I’d kill them if I could and hang the trophies over my fireplace.

    Emily, you are right. Without the struggle, it means so little. But, once, just once I’d like it to be easy!

    Sarah, keep at it! You can do it! And I love the Dune words. One of my all-time fav series.

  • Wade, that is a very valid fear. In my old writing group, the comments from non-sifi-fantasy readers were pretty much worthless.

    Anyone here who wants to beta read for Wade???

    (Jut tryin’ to be helpful!)

  • QUOTE: Anyone here who wants to beta read for Wade???

    I’d likely do, if I can find the time, but I’ve been trying to burn through my WIP so that all I have time for as far as reading goes is about an hour or so a night before bed.

    I’m a big reader of all things Sci-Fi and Fantasy, though to be truthful, I far prefer space opera to hard Sci-Fi.

    My own WIP is a Space-Opera Sci-Fi Romance and that’s what I’ve been pushing the no fear and not giving up on lately. The latest chapter is going to be a rough one and so I’m trying even more today to force myself to get past the things I’m going to have to do to my characters in the darkness before the dawn.

  • What’s that quote from Dune? Fear is the mind-killer. I think every writer, published or not, goes through this. I write something and think it’s great. And then I read something someone else wrote and think what I wrote is garbage compared to it. But then I come back to what I wrote a little later and I can see it much clearer for what it is: accomplishments and flaws.

    All I need to do is pull out something really old that I wrote and I can see how much I’ve progressed. That helps to balance how far I feel I still have to go after I read something spectacular out there.

    In the end I have to trust myself, that I do have the imagination and determination to do this.

    Besides, life would be really dull without it.

  • Faith said, In my old writing group, the comments from non-sifi-fantasy readers were pretty much worthless.
    For example, “What drugs were you on when you wrote this?” Or maybe they just said that to me… *grins*

  • QUOTE: All I need to do is pull out something really old that I wrote and I can see how much I’ve progressed.

    Same here. I still have my first works from back when I first started writing at around 15-16 years old. Whenever I feel down on my writing (which is surprisingly little nowadays), I get that out and try to read it. Note, I said try… 😉 Looking back on it, I sometimes wonder what that first teacher saw when he told me I should think about becoming a writer. And then I look at my work now and think, he was right.

  • Daniel, I used to love space opera! The Honor Herrington (did I get that right?) were faves, as well as the ones by Lois M. Bujold. I just don’t have time for it these days.

    CE, I totally agree. Life *would* be dull!

    Misty! (snerk) Yeah. To both of us!

  • Daniel,

    I write space operas which mask themselves as fantasy epics. If that interests you, please contact me.