The Opposite of Popular

The online home of alleged author Victoria Leybourne

Ill-Conceived 2AM Blog Post


So I am maybe now back to working on the previous draft of Faustina?

progress bar from my Faustina scrivener project showing that I am up to 67000 words

I have no idea (literally NO IDEA) if my writing is any good, because I have lost ALL PERSPECTIVE, but I will defend the exquisite beauty of these numbers with my life.

Someday I would like to be someone who finds out what they’re doing before or at least during the process of actually doing it.


PS: I think I am still working on the new one too, because that one is in many ways better, but I feel like finishing any version of this story, ANY VERSION AT ALL, would do a lot to make me feel less head-desky.

PPS: If you are following Faustina, I will be posting something, somewhere, very soon. This has been an update from the Vague Information Board.

PPPS: Never post anything to your blog at 2AM. That’s a terrible idea. Why would you do that?


7 thoughts on “Ill-Conceived 2AM Blog Post

  1. I’m not sure I understood everything but your ‘update from the Vague Information Board’ sounds great to me, I do hope you manage to finish Faustina at some point, preferably sooner rather than later.

    If you’ve lost all perspective, in my opinion it means that you have to put it out there, so that readers can access it. If they like it, great, and if they don’t, then too bad for them, they’ll just move on to other books and that’s it. And you know that not everyone is going to like it anyway, since everyone is different. You seem to have lost all confidence in yourself and your abilities as a writer, and it is really too bad since I know you’re able to write some wonderful prose. I’d love to be able to read some more, so please please please, for the sake of the readers that will enjoy Faustina, do finish it!

    The problems you seem to be struggling with (lack of confidence, stalling to finish – probably to avoid having people reading it and face potential criticism) have been addressed very well on Dean Wesley Smith’s blog, under Heinlein’s rules (he’s published a book about them but you can also read them for free on his blog, read the following page starting from the bottom):

    Heinlein’s rules are rules for professional writers, that make a lot of sense but are apparently very difficult to follow, exactly for the same reasons you’re currently facing. Here they are, but you’ll have to go to Dean Wesley Smith’s blog above to get a thorough explanation:
    1. You must write.
    2. You must finish what you start.
    3. You must refrain from rewriting except to editorial order.
    4. You must put it on the market.
    5. You must keep it on the market until sold.

    It seems that you are stuck with points 2 and 3…


  2. That’s okay, I don’t understand everything either. At 2AM I understand NOTHING. And yes, I hope I finish Faustina sooner rather than later too!

    You’ve recommended Dean Wesley Smith’s blog to me before, I think, and he does have some good advice, but I don’t think I can completely agree with him about no. 3. I read a LOT of books about how to get (traditionally) published when I was a teenager (it made me feel writer-y without having to do any actual writing) and they were all pretty much unanimous: “Writing is re-writing”. Like, if you haven’t re-written something a dozen times while weeping openly and knocking back whiskey, then you haven’t written at all. On the other side of the fence, there’s a certain subset of indie authors (which doesn’t necessarily include Dean Wesley Smith, but he seems to lean that way) whose philosophy is more “get it out there and earning money as fast as possible, at any cost”.

    I’m not saying that either of these is wrong, but I think my opinion is somewhere in the middle. It’s important to me – probably more important than making money, though of course the more money I can make at writing the more time I can spend doing it – that I write books that make people feel the way my favourite books have always made me feel. Can I write without rewriting? Well, yeah, that’s how I wrote Bloody Zombies. And I’m proud of Bloody Zombies – I think it’s pretty good for what it is and I’d like to write more stories like that. But I also want to write more complex stories with more memorable characters, the kind that you’re still thinking about days after you’ve read them. And maybe some writers can do that without re-writing, but I really can’t. At least, not yet.

    HAVING SAID THAT, I still haven’t finished my damn book, so my philosophy obviously doesn’t work. I could probably stand to swing a little more towards the “just finish it and stop worrying” end of the spectrum!

    Thanks for commenting 🙂 and for your email, which I will go and reply to now!


    • There’s probably not just one true way to write, so whatever works for you is probably a good process. I know I’ve already recommended his blog to you, and I’m sorry if it is redundant, but it seemed to me that you were stuck and I figured a reminder might help.

      I’m not sure their philosophy is really to “earn money as fast as possible, at any cost” (I mean, if that’s a side effect of the process, there are worst side effects that could happen, but that’s not the point). If I understood it well, the idea is that your subconscious is much better at writing stories that your conscious mind, so you should trust your subconscious and not rewrite following your critical (conscious) mind, since it is only going to destroy all the nice work that your subconscious has done.

      Which does not mean that you can’t go back to some of what you’ve already written and change it, Dean Wesley Smith apparently does it a lot – he calls it cycling: going back to the part just before to change something, or even going back much earlier on, for instance to plant a gun if it will be needed later on. But he does all that via a subconscious process, not via his critical mind. And apparently the way to figure out which part of your brain is at work is that the subconscious is positive (enthusiastic, saying that it would be cool to have this happening), whereas the conscious part is negative (criticising in a bad way, telling yourself that your writing sucks, that you’re never going to be as good as you hope, and so on).

      And the other thing he says that makes a lot of sense to me as well is that like any other profession, writers need to practise their skills in order to become better and better. Which does NOT mean that they should rewrite their stories to death, but should move on to new books, and after enough practice get better at writing. There’s always other books to be written and even if you invested a lot of time in Faustina it does not mean that you should still spend too much time on it, and delay its publication. That sounds like what he calls “making your writing important”, where you wouldn’t allow yourself to just go with the flow and have fun, but labour each word. And if the writing feels like work to you, if it is important and not fun, you might start to bore your reader too, which is not really what you want.

      I hope it makes sense, even though it is hastily summarised and he does explain it much better than me.

      And one more question: who wrote the books that you read as a teenager? Very famous authors that have published a lot of books or only editors or “failed” authors? That’s the problem with some advice books for writers that I found: were written by people who had only written… writers’ advice books. I mean, it would be fine if you were looking for advice on how to write a how-to book, but I would feel more confident listening to the advice of a professional writer than of someone who has never actually published a fiction book. Not saying that it is the case with the books you read but you probably have to be careful whose advice you follow.


  3. Pingback: 2016 Week Twelve: Nothing in particular | Victoria Leybourne

  4. I think I do the same thing – refuse to finish something or do it properly because it’s better to have failed and not really tried than tried very hard and still failed! By the way I don’t know if it’s my computer or your page, but there seem to be some display issues.


Talk to me. If you want. A comfortable silence is cool too.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s