Monday, February 17, 2014

Sometimes I Hate Writing by Christa Allan



Years ago, before the release of the movie it inspired, Simon Birch, I read A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving. Over a decade later, it's still on my top five favorite books of my so-far lifetime list.  (Fugitive Pieces by Anne Michaels is also in that number. If you've not read her novel, stop reading this...buy it now...and be prepared for a beautifully written, searingly haunting, and heart-exploding redemptive novel.)

I binged on Irving novels for a while after that until I read A Widow for One Year. Three-fourths of the way into the novel, it seemed as if he grew weary because the remaining one-fourth went by at warp speed. I remember closing the book wondering what caused him to gobble up all the lose ends of the novel with one gulp rather than allowing us to savor what remained.

Now I know.

I've written five novels, and I experience the same angsty impatience three-fourths of the way to the finish. I hate my characters; they're whiney relatives who came for a week and stayed for a month.  And when they're not whining, they're mute or engaged in a gab fest entirely unrelated to anything I ant/need them to discuss. I hate the novel. I wonder why I thought it was brilliant 300 pages ago. I want to curl into the fetal position inside a cloaking device and become invisible because, when the book releases, everyone will finally know what a fraud I am.

So, anytime I'm near the end of the novel, and I'm scurrying about like Chicken Little's twin sister, I remember Irving.  And I breathe, then call a friend who can walk me off the ledge. I make sure I have a case of Coke Zero, boxes of Mike& Ike, and I allow those insistent, annoying characters to take me where they want to go.

Sometimes, they're actually smarter than I am.

Christa Allan's fifth and newest novel,  A Test of Faith, will release in March. You can track her down at www.christaallan.comFacebook, and Twitter. You can find her other novels here.

8 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. So relieved to know I'm not nearly as crazy as everyone imagines!

      Delete
  2. You're so funny, but I can relate. My favorite part is when I can go back over my 1st draft and make it wonderful :-)

    ReplyDelete
  3. "they're whiney relatives who came for a week and stayed for a month" - this is just a terrific line. You should be a writer.

    ReplyDelete
  4. What a funny post! And I love your new cover.

    ReplyDelete