Okay, so maybe your story doesn’t suck. Maybe it’s a fuckin’ rock star. Maybe your story makes Stephen King, Robert Heinlein, and Octavia Butler all look like a gang of illiterates. Whoop-dee-god-damn-doo.
But what if you’re story isn’t great? What if your story doesn’t just suck but bites and blows as well? Good news is you’re in good company, because everyone has those moments, no matter their level of success. I’m pretty sure J.K. Rowling has days where she starts a story and says, “This is bloody rubbish!”
I had one of those days today. I started a story for the September Roar Shack Reading that I’m going to, and shit, do I have the damn thing. It’s pretty much what I imagine my love-child with Ann Coulter would be, an aimless, soulless, bloodsucking beast of which there is no defeating.
Yikes. That’s fucked up.
Let me remind you guys the surest way of knowing whether or not a story’s got even a hint of a future. If you’re working on the first draft and you get to the point where you start hating it – I don’t just mean the story; I mean, it’s making you hate even the act of writing – that’s when you know it’s a bad story.
And I know, I know. You’re probably saying that I’m starting to edit myself. No, no. That’s different. Working on this short story, I never once looked back on it. I just faced forward and plowed on, and I still hated working on it. I didn’t enjoy making my mistakes with it.
Working on No Tomorrow, on the other hand, I knew that I was making mistakes, but that was okay because I was still having fun with it. See the difference? You could have the trashiest, shittiest, most failure-prone career as a writer (in which case, it would be called a hobby for sure), but there has to be fun involved.
Fuck it. I’ll read an excerpt of my novel at the reading, and let this story wither, die, and crawl back into the hell dimension from whence it came. I’ll let it crawl back to Nevada.