The Roller-Coaster Ride of Writing

Specifics about craft, talent, technique, etc.
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The Roller-Coaster Ride of Writing

Postby LibrarianBarbarian » Tue Mar 03, 2020 10:22 am

You finish your draft and read it and it's WONDERFUL! Your story is thrilling, your prose is lyrical, your imagery is worth a thousand pictures and your characters are even more alive to you than your friends and family. You laugh, you cry... You have amazed yourself! This story is a masterpiece! You stay up until dawn, reading and re-reading it. You even load it up in Balabolka to hear Daniel, the only half-convincing voice, recite it in his dry, British monotone. Even then you still love it, because it is literary perfection!

But then after about the twentieth read and the third can of Coca Cola to stay awake... the Demons creep in.

Hmm. Maybe this isn't quite the right word. Uh-oh. There are some looonnng run-on sentences in here. And this character's behavior in this crucial scene really doesn't ring true at all, does it? Man... This sounds kind of dull over here. Maybe this isn't so great after all. In fact, it's cruddy! Puerile, cliched drivel, with forced clunky dialogue. Your 'original' plot has been recycled a million times by far better authors. God, even the character names are lame! How could you have deluded yourself into thinking this is any good! It sucks. It's SHAMEFUL!

So you shut down your PC and trudge off to bed. Maybe writing isn't your thing after all. You're just fooling yourself. You plan to take a long, perhaps permanent break from it and go back to painting toy soldiers for a hobby, or trolling message boards to vent your frustration.

You don't even look at your story for a day or so. You toy with the idea of deleting it, but then you think of all the time you spent on it. You can't just throw all that away. Maybe you'll drag it out again one day just for a laugh when the wounds are healed. Might be something worth salvaging in that putrid mess.

So maybe a day, or a week or a month later, you are going through your folders and there is your story. What the heck, I'll give it a squint, you think.

You begin to read. Hey, this is pretty good after all! Wow! What an amazing twist! And the setting is really unique... I really like that bit... Ha! That character is great...

And the cycle repeats. Over, and over and over again. Much like my ex-girlfriend and I back in college.

I can see why so many of the giants of literature were bigtime boozers.
Q2 Volume 37 - SHM

Andy Dibble
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Re: The Roller-Coaster Ride of Writing

Postby Andy Dibble » Tue Mar 03, 2020 10:31 am

For me, it's not really a cycle. the curve is more like the Hype Cycle:

At least when the writing is going well. On bad days, I skip to the trough and sometimes quit before I feel better about my writing. Most any writing day has something that is worth salvaging, either for the current work or another: a turn of phrase, a joke, an action that explains a character aptly, etc.

I normally only really escape the trough when I have a first draft that has all the right pieces and all that's left is polishing. That's when writing gets fun again.
35.2 R
35.3 R
35.4 R
36.1 First Place
36.2 HM

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Posts: 33
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Re: The Roller-Coaster Ride of Writing

Postby LibrarianBarbarian » Tue Mar 03, 2020 3:22 pm

Interesting cycle! I've just been going up and down the Peak of Inflated Expectations, in and out of the trough. At the top, things are very productive, but I notice I tend to go into the Trough of Disillusionment when I am very tired. I've been on a weird cycle of only 4 hours of sleep or less per night this week. If I can break that, perhaps I'll coast along to the Plateau of Productivity again.
Q2 Volume 37 - SHM

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Re: The Roller-Coaster Ride of Writing

Postby TimE » Wed Mar 04, 2020 12:24 am

I trundle along slowly on the x-axis, but every now and then I trip over one of those pesky numbers on it. On those occasions, I go flying in the air for a short while and get quite excited – then my head hits the bottom of that trough of disillusionment and I fall flat on my face.
Interesting graph.
Some HMs More Rs - I keep thinking I'm getting closer, but perhaps not.
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