I am mighty(er)

I’ve come up with an analogy for what writing this book feels like. (Warning: weird metaphor ahead.)

Say you’ve been going to the gym for some months, maybe a year, and lifting weights faithfully. And the numbers have gone up, sure, but what does that mean? Then one day you find yourself messing around with a friend, and the two of you get into a wrestling match, and you’re gasping and snarling and trying to get a good grip so you can exert some leverage and damn it’s hard — but then halfway through you realize that a year ago, this friend would have had you face-down on the floor crying uncle in about four seconds flat. And maybe all that weightlifting really has done something.

I don’t think what I have so far is brilliant, but I also know what’s what revision is for. I think I’m getting my foundations in more or less the right place, and that means bringing things up to code won’t be too tough. Sure, for the first time in my life I find myself routinely writing three hundred words and then ripping them right back out again, that very night, to start the scene over from scratch — I’ve written fully 15% more than I have of actual book — but that isn’t defeat; that’s victory. That’s noticing my friend about to get me in a pin I won’t be able to escape, and squirming out of it before I can be trapped.

I’m stronger than I used to be.

(Though not physically. My puny self needs to get back to the gym.)

0 Responses to “I am mighty(er)”

  1. m_stiefvater

    Not a weird metaphor at all — I love it! And it’s so true. While finishing up these last little sections of BALLAD, I looked at my “outtakes” file. For my other novels, it was about 4K words long. It was almost 20K words for this one, because I was much more self-policing. Kept me from going down really wrong paths.

    • Marie Brennan

      My paths keep being not so much wrong as boring. Like, blah, blah, here’s Antony sitting in the Commons, let’s send him out to talk to Seymour — wait! This book describes the circumstances under which they arrested Strafford! The conversation will be much more interesting if it takes place while Strafford’s getting hauled away.

      Or, okay, this is getting across everything it needs to, but the order of approach just isn’t that effective. Scrap, start over.

      Three steps forward, three steps back — but maybe this time I’ll find a better path.

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