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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Open Discussions About Writing » Wrestling with my gorilla

   
Author Topic: Wrestling with my gorilla
rcorporon
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No, this isn't a King Kong post .

Just curious if anybody else here feels the same way I do after writing. I've been writing my novel lately, and after I'm done writing for the day, I feel like I wrestled with a 200 kilo gorilla (mentally). My story seems to fight with me, and I need to kick the hell out of it to make it good.

I'm not saying that I am forcing anything, its just that nothing seems to come easy. Sometimes I slip into the "writers trance" and just write and write for and hour, but most of the time its like, "Put me back in Mick, I can do it! This chapter will not get the best of me!"

However, I've noticed that when I find that I fight with my story, my writing is at its best. My wife is my "reader/editor" (I write fantasy, and she hates fantasy, so if she reads something and likes it, I usually know its decent) and she always likes the sections that were the hardest for me to get the way I wanted them.

Anybody else fighting with gorialla's while writing?

Ronnie


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Monolith
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Oh I feel like I'm trying to take on some WWE wrestlers sometimes.

My two WIP's plus something that I thought I should've started writing to atleast get it down.

"Call of Faya" is just kicking the crap outta me. I'm having to completely rewrite the whole thing.

"Olympus Uprising" is feeling like a heavyweight bout. I'm making dents in it, but it is slowgoing.

I've almost given up on "Monolith's Arrival" and going to go another way and introduce the other characters I have for another story.

That's my gorillas that I'm wrestling.

Anyone else?

[This message has been edited by Monolith (edited November 21, 2005).]


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sojoyful
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I have written and rewritten the first chapter of my novel at least 10 times. I am dying to get past it because I'm raring to write the rest of the book if I could just start it! I am faithful in sitting down every day to wrestle my gorilla, and I agree that this is exactly what it feels like. Grrr!!
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Spaceman
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Maybe you are starting the story at the wrong place. Try starting chapter two and see what happens.
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rcorporon
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Space,

I'm not sure you were talking to me, or the post above you, so please forgive me if I'm out of place.

I think that I'm starting at the right place, but my char's like to fight with me it seems.

Its OK though, I just remember my ma telling me "Nothing worth having is easy." (Where would we be without ma's wisdom?)

Ronnie


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Leigh
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Every person has to fight with a 200kg gorilla everytime they sit down and write. We all have amazing ideas hence why we write, plus we also love the freedom of creativity or at least I do .

My gorilla hit me in the head today with a 500kg frying pan. Well thats what the migraine felt like, I may of only got about 500 words done but I feel its some of my best work.

Maybe I should get a headache for everytime I write? Nah, I don't like the pain.


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MaryRobinette
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Oh absolutely. I mean, I love it when I get the wind and a scene just pours out, but sometimes the only way to get it on paper is to wrestle your muse to the floor and hogtie her to your keyboard.
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Crotalus@work
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My gorilla is the last 15k of my novel. I've got 100k words down and I estimate another 15k to get the story told. I'm sure I'll trim about 10% during the editing stage. Right now it's like I'm so close to finishing that first draft that I can almost taste it, but the writing has definitely gotten harder the closer I get to the end.
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sojoyful
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rcorporon, I suspect Spaceman was responding to me, if that clears up confusion.

PS - When do we get to read some of those brilliant passages that you reserve for your wife?


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Totty472
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the gorilla i face is the ending just won't arrive. I know what it is and how to get there, but it just gets further and further away. When i do finally finish i'm ecstatic but numbed.
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AndrewR
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Personally, I don't wrestle my gorilla, but use hit-and-run tactics. Which is probably why I don't get much done.

BTW, I thought this quote was somewhat germane:

quote:
Success is a little like wrestling a gorilla. You don't quit when you're tired--you quit when the gorilla is tired.
--Robert Strauss


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Isaiah13
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The gorilla in my writing is a story called Glass Houses. No matter how many times I revise it, it just never feels right. Normally when this happens I just set whatever story I'm working on aside and move on, no problem, but I can't seem to do that with this particular story. There's something about it that just won't let go.
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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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quote:
I have written and rewritten the first chapter of my novel at least 10 times. I am dying to get past it because I'm raring to write the rest of the book if I could just start it!

sojoyful, you don't have to write Chapter One before you write Chapter Two, or even
Chapter Twenty-two.

Write Chapter Whenever if it's the one you are most excited about. And then write Chapter Later-on next, if that's the one you're excited about next.

Once you've written everything you're excited about, you can go back and rewrite them and add whatever you need in between so that they flow smoothly through the whole story.

Instead of wrestling with the Chapter One gorilla, lock it in a cage and go take on the gorilla that has grabbed hold of your brain and is demanding to be written.


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pixydust
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In a novel editing along the way too much can be a sink whole that's hard to get out of. I've been there. I just make myself keep plugging away and make notes of where I have to go back and change stuff for later on, when I'm finally finished.

My WIP is my gorilla, as well. The last little bit. Seems to be a common one. Well, I just need to suck it up and get to it!

...More easily said then done.


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sojoyful
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But Kathleen, didn't OSC himself say that if you don't get the opening right, nothing you build on it will be right either, and you'll end up rewriting it all? I'm terrified of starting wrong and then having to go back and do it all over. I'm in search of the 'perfect opening' and it's killing me.
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Heresy
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sojoyful, I think the point is this: If you don't write the rest of the book, it won't matter how good the opening is.

For myself, I also find that I learn things about my character through writing the rest that is important and that I later go and revise into the opening, making it better. Maybe that's just me.

As for my gorilla, it's really sticking with whatever is my work in progress, and not getting distracted by some new story idea. Finishing things that I start writing is my biggest problem as a writer. I've started several novels over the years, but never gotten further than about chapter 12 or so. I'm still working on it.

Heresy

(edited for clarity, blame my cough syrup)

[This message has been edited by Heresy (edited November 23, 2005).]


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D_James_Larkin
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You know, for some reason, as I read through this thread, “listening” to each of you describing similar experiences… connecting, is giving me a sense of kinship and closeness that I don’t usually experience in forums.
It’s almost a feeling like one gets when working on a large project together, at that critical point in development when the team suddenly gels and becomes aware of a binding tie in purpose.

So thank you rcorporon for sharing that insight and experience here.

Kathleen hit the nail right on the head. Don’t lose your momentum when writing your first draft. Go cover to cover as quickly as you can while remaining comfortable that what’s in your head is making it onto the paper.

sojoyful, you are correct about OSC’s comment in that regard. But he is only talking about the critical flow of the first page or two. Once he feels it coming to life, like a successful birth, he lets the wet cat out of the bag. Maybe that’s what you’re talking about though, that you can’t seem to get the open just right. My recommendation then would be to pick the one you like best and run with it, or maybe select a different starting “place” for the book.


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luapc
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Some of the best stories seem to come when I'm doing something new, or dealing with something I'm not familiar with. Currently I'm writing a short story of about 6000 words that has aspects of religion in it and quotes from the bible, as well as some hard science fiction. Not being familiar with the bible, it's driving me nuts, but I think it's turning into a decent story now that the first draft is almost done.

The best thing to do is to trudge through the muck until you come out on the other side. When you look back, you'll get some satisfaction in the effort if nothing else. I know I am.


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rcorporon
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Larken, thanks for the kind words!

I just wanted to make sure I wasn't fighitng gorilla's alone.

Ever watch that Simpsons episode where Homer becomes an artist? He is in his backyard, slamming a pile of garbage with a stick and yelling "Be art damn you!"

Most of the time, that is me with my novel. A jumble of words on the ground, and me hitting it with the pencil screaming "Be a chapter damn you!"

As to when you'll get some of my stuff, its hard to say. I do all of my first draft stuff with the pencil and paper, so I don't have any typed versions of my WIP. My ma is coming to Japan this Xmas to see me, and she is bringing me my laptop from Canada, so in the new year I'll type up the first 13 lines or so and plop them down in F&F for you guys to tear up.

I worry about novels in F&F though. Every time I go there I see "there isn't enough info" as if we are supposed to put our entire novel in 13 lines of text. My novel is nice and easy for the first 3 or 4 chapters.

Anywho, thanks for the input!


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sojoyful
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rcorporon, I have had the same reaction to F&F. I understand the concept of the first 13 lines hooking the reader and editor, but I don't want to give the setup and the punchline in there! And yet sometimes it feels like we have to. I try (operative word) to concentrate my critiques more on what confused or interested me.

Edited to add: thanks for the input, folks. I guess I took OSC's comments too much to heart. I'll give the rest of the book it's day in the sun now, and let chapter one sulk in the dark until it's ready to behave.

[This message has been edited by sojoyful (edited November 23, 2005).]


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Elan
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Sojoyful, if you want someone to take a serious look at your manuscript beyond the 13 lines, find a group to join. There's a forum on this board to post your interest in joining a Hatrack group. The groups aren't organized by Hatrack, mind you, it's just a bulletin board to post your interest in finding like-minded writers to exchange critiques with.
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sojoyful
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Thanks Elan. When I'm ready, that's what I'll do.

rcorporon, I feel as if I've slightly highjacked your thread. Sorry.


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rcorporon
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No problems!

Just don't expect a Xmas gift now!

Ronnie


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