Status of the WIP

My work in progress seems to be going well. Today was spent writing but also reviewing scenes that I have written so that they can be organized into some semblance of a story at some point. Yesterday I wrote a chapter which was very hard. I really beat the hell out of one of my favorite characters. I felt so bad for them and after it was done I needed to take a break.

Sometimes I wish I still had a group of friends to discuss plotting and characters and story with. Those days are in the past, people get busy, and we are all a lot more distant than we used to be these days. Because it sure would be nice to unpack some of what I have written and plans for the book as it unfolds. There is so much to it. You aren’t just putting words down, you are engineering a story to be believable, have pathos and connection with the readers, and there are the elements of honesty and pacing and every other little damned thing to consider.

In this regard, writing gets very lonely. Sometimes too you are too close to a subject to see anything other than the details and you need to take a step back and look at it. But things are moving ahead. I’ve written scenes and chapters but I’ve also taken things that I have already worked out and am beginning to understand how they will all fit together at some point.

Right now I’m making more coffee and hoping it will let me continue to work. I’m feeling a little exhausted by the work I have done, but I’m close to making a breakthrough and I always run the risk of distracting myself whenever this is the case. I get reluctant because I just want things to come together right, and usually that happens in subsequent drafts rather than hitting it right the first time.

I just need to keep going.

Yesterday’s work was evident of pushing my comfort zones and really just letting my fiction flag fly. I felt awful about what I did to the character, but it’s part of their arc. It needed to happen. Maybe writer’s hell is having to face all the characters you’ve created and having to answer for what you’ve done to them.

I don’t know if this story will be great when I am done or if it will be like everything else that I’ve worked on. Liked intensely by a select few, but otherwise not many people even know it exists. That piece is hard to think about and stay motivated.

This story might appeal to men mostly, but men hardly read anymore. This is why YA books and fiction and everything else have veered away from male leads and protagonists to plucky female protagonists and men are little more than window dressing. In my opinion, I think this apathy is ignoring half the population. Men can expect to find themselves dumbed down over the next several generations because they aren’t encouraged to read. There is no agency for them most of the time anymore, and that can’t be good for any of us.

In anything, I hope that women who read this will see their brothers or fathers or sons or even husbands/significant others in the story and get some kind of connection. I think there is a lack of that as well. What is published is often driven by what is selling. Men haven’t been buying books for decades, and now publishers could give a shit what they are reading. And because there isn’t a lot out there for men to identify with they just aren’t reading.

On a friends’ Facebook today, someone unintentionally ironically said something along the lines of what’s wrong with having to read books with female leads? Women and people of color have had to do this forever with books centered around men.

The problem is it should have never been one way or the other. There should be enough toys in the toybox for everyone to play with. Enough characters for everyone to related to. But what is being published right now is a left of center, female heavy, “woke” view of literature which leaves very little room for diverse voices. It’s no better than how things were the other way back in the 1960s and earlier. It’s what happens when art is created by marketing and committees.

The odds of my book ever getting published are low.

4 thoughts on “Status of the WIP

  1. Your observations about male vs female reading patterns is interesting. I haven’t explored any of that, but can say that my two teen sons generally do not read. One of them has a complete aversion to it. The other, who used to be a fast and furious reader as a child, has a nearly empty bookcase. It seems he just doesn’t find books he likes anymore.
    It seems like there is an underserved population here. Your book may not be the “committee” choice, but the trick will be to find out who is trying to serve that underserved constituency of readers who would pick up a book of it resonated.

  2. Your observations about the publishing world are interesting. I have not explored any of that, but can share that neither of my two teenage sons are readers. One has a complete aversion to reading. The other, a fast and furious reader as a child, no longer seems to find books to capture his interests in the way they used to..

    It seems there is a large underserved population here, and the trick will be finding people who want to take risks to reach those potential buyers.

  3. Your observations about the publishing world are interesting. I have not explored any of that, but can share that neither of my two teenage sons are readers. One has a complete aversion to reading. The other, a fast and furious reader as a child, no longer seems to find books to capture his interests in the way they used to..

    It seems there is a large underserved population here, and the trick will be finding people who want to take risks to reach those potential buyers.

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