Sunday, February 14, 2010

Resolutions, Updated

So at the start of the year, I vowed less talking about writing, more writing. I've accomplished half of that -- turns out I'm pretty good at not doing something, as long as that something is not eating or drinking. The doing part -- not so much.

I did start a new project (the old one that I talked about for years is on hiatus), and started off like a house on fire -- aiming for a thousand words a day. The problem came when I realized that those thousand words were, almost without exception, garbage. This isn't a case of writing something, going back later, and wincing -- this was knowing it was shit as the words hit the page. It's pretty demoralizing.

A big part of the problem: the story's pretty humorless. This isn't necessarily a bad thing. My favorite Graham Greene novels are the bleakest -- there's not a lot of laughs in "A Burnt-Out Case." There's plenty of good, serious stuff out there, and the plot I came up with for this one required a serious touch. The problem is the way I write serious stuff. It's plodding, overly introspective, whiny. It's a whole lot of guys with a steely gaze looking off into the distance while contemplating the single tragedy that defines their lives. I've known this for a long time -- but I can't seem to correct it.

So: back to allegedly funny stuff it is (and another idea gets tossed on the hiatus bonfire). I've got a sense of humor -- studies have proved that -- and when I try to push it under, the results aren't pretty. Such is life. Onward.

5 comments: said...

Good blog.

Tapeleg said...

Damn it, Greg.

Quit judging your words when they are written, or you will never, ever get anything done. Ever. Who cares if it's shit. Just put down words.

Best thing I ever heard:

You don't think your way out of a writing block.

You write your way out of a thinking block.

That's the truth.

gsdgsd13 said...

By and large agreed (with Tapeleg, not ol' abebedorespgondufo up there). But in the particular case I'm talking about -- the writing was becoming toxic. Normally I at least think the stuff is decent as it comes out -- this time every line was demoralizing me as it emerged.

I am working on something else now -- I was writing as I was Tweeting you (Tweeting at you?) yesterday. Things are moving, I swear. I just needed to exorcise that particular project.

Therese said...

I'm all for allegedly funny stuff. There's a real dearth of decent novels out there with an actual sense of humor in them - if you can do allegedly funny, you're way ahead of the pack. Plus, some of the allegedly funny books are serious at the same time. I recently re-read the Magic Mountain and realized it is actually full of wry, subtle humor.

Have you read David Lodge, by the way? (E.g. his book Therapy.) Funny and serious at the same time. Good stuff, but as I say, rare.

gsdgsd13 said...

Therese, I haven't read David Lodge but I'll look him up.

In connection with the humor and writing thing, I was thinking of John Irving today. Kind of an odd choice because I've loved one of his novels, found another couple okay, and the rest have put me off and/or left me cold. But at his best he seems to be very adept at handling serious themes/situations while maintaining a very light touch.