I've developed this nasty habit of over-thinking things. Now I say that like it's some recent thing, but in truth I've been that way my whole life. I didn't do a lot of the stupid shit most kids my age have because of it (though instead I went through my own brand of stupid shit). It paralyzed me when it came time to choose a college degree, and kept me in it even after I realized I was wasting my time. I missed a couple steps and entirely avoided some leaps I should have taken. Now how the fuck does that relate to writing?
Last week I was in Toronto, and I finally took a crack at a concept I had for a story. Don't worry, I'd gotten a serious amount of editing done just the night before. Honestly, I should have done both that day, but I was away for the weekend so whatever. Now this concept had been bouncing around my skull since I saw a submission call for cosmic horror. I'd never tried my hand at the genre and I'd wanted to do so since I finished reading a small collection of Lovecraft stories I'd bought at Chapters for $5. The basic concept is this; man goes on solo mission to Pluto, promptly goes crazy. Not the most creative premise, but it had its hooks in me. So I ran with it for a couple of hours. I was so excited by all the possibilities, all the science I'd researched, and the character I created. I rode that wave of inspiration for a bit North of 2000 words. "That was a good chunk of writing," I thought to myself, "I'm sure this will lead somewhere great." Only it didn't. I looked over what I'd written and I knew it was no good. I'd written four pages of pure exposition. It was boring as shit and I'd come up with it. I couldn't imagine how dull it'd be for an actual reader. "Oh well, it's a first draft," I continued, "I'll fix it on the second go." I left it at that. I knew it was bad. Not like a "I'm a terrible writer and everything I write is terrible" kind of bad. This was pure, unadulterated, periodic table level crap. Absolute certainty doesn't come often when it comes to me and my writing, but this time it had.Read More