In all my writing endeavours, there is one word which both makes me smile and makes me cringe. One word which makes me think I’m about to do something wonderful but which at the same time cements in my mind the fact that I will get nothing done for hours. Or days. Depending on the project, maybe even weeks or months.
I had two short stories I wanted to revise this month, one short story I wanted to write because the ideas were starting to gel into something special, and a novel to re-outline. I’m stuck on all of them. Often, when I’m writing, I’ll get the story down, make sure the bones are where they need to be and that I’ve put on the right amount of muscle and sinew. In later drafts I worry about making it pretty, I worry about the details. Often there will be one or several points I want to research to get the story just right, to find that one little nugget that will make it shine.
For these stories, the research will make or break them. For the novel, there are a few major points which I need to read up on or certain premises I’ve thought up will fall flat. there’s more there, so I know the thing is salvageable, even if I need to take certain aspects in a different direction. For the short stories, where you only have a few concepts to work with, the research will make or break them entirely. One involves historical timelines of things I thought were congruent but which might be off by several hundred years (yes, I took something for granted. Don’t do that.) The other isn’t so bad, it’s just that Wikipedia is failing me, as is my home library, and I need to make a trip to the local library, I just haven’t had the chance yet. And so… stuck, for the time being. Except for the new story, which just needs a few little pieces to fall into place before I jump in.
I know I’ll get through it, I know it won’t be that long, and I’m anxious to learn more about subjects I’m already fond of. I just wish I could be done with it RIGHT NOW DAMMIT! Where’s my Matrix brain-jack already?