I think at the time I was asked that, I said "no," because in general it isn't as if I sit hunched over my desk, rubbing my temples while I stare at the screen, wracking my brains for the right description. In general, description comes naturally to me. But the truth of the matter is, I've never analyzed what aspects of writing are hard for me and which are easy - plot arcs, character development, world-building, narration, description, dialogue, etc. Usually, I am far too busy being concerned with becoming better at everything, and doing justice to the novel under my knife."Is description hard for you?"
I just finished reading a great little post from Go Teen Writers by Shannon Dittemore on sticking with your novel when the fire of your first love has died. Most of us are plagued with numerous spin-offs and completely-other story ideas, which threaten to lure us away from our project when our project becomes work instead of fun. I'm sure a lot of us are guilty of veering off and doing just that, leaving our original project languishing in the sad, uninteresting middle, cobbled together by vague promises that you will return. But you know that as soon as you hit the rough patch of your new project, you'll be whisked off onto another story, leaving yet another story to die. Have you done it before? It doesn't feel very good to think about it, does it?it's all hard, after a fashion
Honestly, Nike is right: you have to just do it. But that's not very helpful to simply say. If you have a long history of starting-and-ditching stories, how do you break the habit?how do you stick with it?
Perversely, I've really never had trouble finishing a story. I am generally lazy and impatient, but when it comes to my writing, I can think of only two stories (still promising) which I had to set aside because something else needed my attention more. This does not mean I don't get wild ideas for more stories while I'm in the middle of a project: my entire Plenilunar series is a testament to that! But as far back as I can remember, all of my stories, all massive beasts, were started, worked through, and finished. I've never developed the bad habit of running off after a new story in the middle of a current project. So who am I to offer advice?
I do know what it's like to lose that first flame and to feel like you've lost your way in the story. Believe me, I feel like I've been wandering blindly through Talldogs in a passionless malaise. How much more fun would it be to, say, tackle the character snarls of Maresgate or plunge head-long into the cataclysm of Cruxgang, and leave Talldogs until I "got more ideas" for its plot? Well, it might be fun, but somehow I doubt it, because I'm not fooled into believing that the cycle can be broken by continuing to follow it. Talldogs hasn't always been fun to write, so I had to do the only thing I could do, and Shannon Dittemore is absolutely right: you have to persevere. There isn't a magic spell you can cast on yourself or your novel, there isn't a writing camp or a playlist to get you inspired. You have to keep moving forward, believing that you will come through and that you'll have done the right thing, if not the easy thing. Do you remember that quote by Screwtape?you don't plunge into the river to save a drowning man
"Do not be deceived, Wormwood. Our cause is never more in danger than when a human, no longer desiring, but still intending, to do our Enemy's will, looks round upon a universe from which every trace of Him seems to have vanished, and asks why he has been forsaken, and still obeys."In a way this applies to Talldogs, and your novel, as well. Even though long months felt like I was dragging the corpse of a once flourishing plot through a sorry Word document, I believed that in the end I would rekindle that blaze of life. I couldn't see it, I couldn't feel it, I often did not know where I was going. But I kept going. And you know what?
the fire rekindled
I'm so glad I did not give up, and I think you will be too.