To get off the topic of my own writing for the moment, let’s take a look at this article by Cory Delistraty: “The Neurological Similarities Between Successful Writers And The Mentally Ill.” Delistraty says that authors, by dint of their constant thinking, are prone to depression. A common enough claim, though I’d like to put forward the suggestion that depression is far more common than you’d think, and authors are simply more prone to write about it. In addition, writers with personality disorders are seen as romantic figures wracked with anguished genius, where a lawyer or construction worker with the same isn’t seen as nearly so admirable.
The article continues:
Writers can be rather awful people, and their blend of depression, isolation, and desire to control not only their own characters but the “characters” of their real lives has been a relationship-killer for centuries.
…Trying to balance vice, borderline mental illness, and a disregard for the real world in favor of fictitious ones is perhaps a noble but Sisyphusian [sic] act for many writers. Try as they might, the greatest creatives in history have too much neuroscience working against them, too many ideas fluttering around their minds.
Delistraty adds that authors are “awful lovers.” Sounds like someone got dumped by a writer.
I’m not saying that writers aren’t depressed (I mean, I’ve got it too) or even that some authors aren’t terrible people/lovers. I just don’t think they’re more prone to it than anyone else.
(Above picture from my instagram account)
I’ve been in the process of writing the end of my novel for… well, months now. My wordcount goal for the book is 90,000-100,000 words, and at the moment I’m just around 91k. I’m so close to the end here, but writing it is like that paradox where each step you take halves the distance left to go—you’ll never reach the end, because the distance left can always be divided in half.
That’s an overdramatic way of saying that endings are hard. Beginnings have an infinite amount of potential, but by the time you’ve reached the end, every thread of the story has to be tied up neatly. That’s why this is the point in the process where you start having all sorts of ideas for new stories: your brain is making a frantic effort to avoid the hard thinking. Whenever I try thinking of the ending of this story, my brain starts whispering but wouldn’t it be so much easier to just play Minecraft? Yes, brain, yes it would. That’s a fantastic idea.
I took the above picture on a drive down to Newport with Rob and William for a write-in at Empire Tea last week. Rob has a highly admirable work ethic, and has been powering through a rewrite of his sci fi epic over the last few months while I’ve been tootling around with my novel. It’s very inspiring, and in fact whenever I meet up with him for a few hours of writing, I do get a lot done. If only I could hire him to sit full time in my office, typing away industriously, to guilt me into getting more done. He’d look at me disapprovingly whenever I fired up Minecraft.
My current goal is to get the draft done by April 1. That’s 8 days, not counting today, to write the last 8,000 or so words. Doable? We’ll see.
I’ve been recommending Marissa Meyer’s The Lunar Chronicles to everyone who ranges within earshot of me for the past week or so. My friend William loaned me Cinder because she thought I might be interested in a book written during Nanowrimo. It was on my ‘to be read’ pile for a month or so before I picked it up–and then was completely unable to put it down. I bought Scarlet for my Kindle before I’d finished Cinder, and then bought Cress the same afternoon.
Cinder is a YA science fiction series that retells the story of Cinderella, where Cinder is a cyborg mechanic living in plague-ridden New Beijing. The fairy tale is really only a framework; the real story is a combination thriller/mystery with a touch of romance. Scarlet and Cress add on to the story arc with retellings of Little Red Riding Hood and Rapunzel, respectively. Meyer is an extremely competent writer who balances a diverse cast of likeable, well-written characters with an exciting plot. This is the kind of book that feels like a guilty pleasure to read. And yes, all three of the books were written during three separate Nanowrimos.
My only complaint is that I thought the series was a trilogy, and was 90% done with Cress when I realized that there was no way the story was going to end anytime soon. The next book, Winter, comes out in 2015. I’m a little disappointed that I binge read them all before I found that out, though I guess that only means I’ll have to re-read the lot of them next year in preparation. It’s not exactly a hardship.
You can find Cinder on Amazon here.