7/25/06: Pounding head against wall

Yesterday was a good writing day. I got my subscription copy of the September 2006 Asimov’s, including my story “Primates.” My name’s on the cover! Also, the issue has already been reviewed in Tangent Online, and I couldn’t ask for a better review: “Levine cleverly weaves a sense of humanity and empathy into the pages… [a] must-read.”

But when I finished up my evening chores, I found that the actual writing itself (I am editing the novella) was like pulling teeth. Even figuring out how to approach the task of writing down what I wanted to do in this editing pass was too much to contemplate. I gave myself a star for the day for sitting down and trying, but I think my total wordcount delta was about 3.

Today was better, but still nasty. The comments were fair, and consistent, but the problems they point out are deep-seated and difficult to resolve. I’m going to have to either change one of the main character’s most fundamental personality traits, or find a way to explain how he could wind up where he is despite it. And the other characters’ reaction to him makes them all unsympathetic. Not to mention some smaller, but still significant, problems of motivation and unexplained (in)action. If it weren’t that these comments were accompanied by statements like “some of the strongest work we’ve seen from you” I’d be despairing. As it is I just see it as a craft challenge. A big craft challenge.

After all this, I sure as heck hope it sells.

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