Signs You’re Writing A Difficult Book

Difficult books happen to everyone.  Sometimes books that are difficult to you aren’t difficult to anyone else.  I.e., a book feels difficult to you because you are touching on emotions that were evoked by some terrible incident in your past and therefore catch you on the raw.  Or you write about some concept that’s particularly scary/intense/hot to you, particularly.


You might not ever find out why a book is being “difficult” to you – sometimes what it’s touching has been so thoroughly repressed or so thoroughly disguised in the book, that you can’t see it, and will never be able to.  Someone else who knows you well might see it.  Your best friend or (argh) your kid might say “well, of course you’re having trouble writing this.  It’s all about fields in the spring, which is full of rabbits, and you remember you have that fear of rabbits due to the incident of the carnivorous rabbits when you were six.”  (No, I don’t have a fear of rabbits, but this might apply to, say, Jimmy Carter, who knows? [Politics?  Not really.  Don’t expect me to like anyone who shot his neighbor’s cat.  Or any cat.])


The thing is, it’s worth fighting to the end of a difficult book, because when you write those, you do tend to invest them with an intensity that makes them WAY more interesting.  Remember, what you’re selling your reader is emotion and catharsis, not words.  The more feeling, the more they’ll like the book.


So, how do you figure out if a book is difficult – as opposed to boring –


1 – You’re writing and, without transition, you find yourself in the kitchen, cleaning the sink trap or something equally distasteful.


2 – You keep thinking “I need to go back and rewrite it from the beginning – and then find yourself scrubbing toilets.


3 – when you get near the end, you either get ill or discover about a thousand emergencies.


4- You can’t stop thinking of the book – or dreaming of it – but you can’t seem to close it.


5 – When you take it to your writers’ group it starts arguments.  Half the people hate it, half love it, no one is indifferent.


And 6 – When you finish the book you are suffused with a sort of awe and KNOW it’s good.  You also know it’s still scary.


Anyway – these are worth finishing – A Few Good Men, my last difficult book should now be available for pre-order.  It is also, I think, the best thing I’ve ever written.
Of course, as hard as Noah’s Boy is proving to close, I think it might be very, very good. 😉


Now stop rotating the cat, and go write.



17 thoughts on “Signs You’re Writing A Difficult Book

      1. Shani rotates herself if I don’t do it. And Bugger keeps coming over to me and begging. And Baby squeaks at me.

    1. YES! Especially today. Even Athena wants to be rotated. I swear she’s begging me to do it. And how do you say no to your feline owners?

          1. That D*MN cat. Since she was diagnosed with a heart condition, she’s learned to pop out her eyes and start wheezing and panting whenever we say “No.” Sigh.

  1. Huh, by those standards, N2:TS and my latest non-fiction should be screaming best sellers. I found myself reading about irregular warfare for three hours yesterday, then drifted over to start a new-old project (the MC was standing by my shoulder tapping her foot and glaring at me). Neither of which got a single page on either of my “do NOW” projects written.

  2. AFGM has been available for pre-order for ages. xD I have my preorder confirmation from Amazon since 12/22/12 and that’s only because I forgot to actually check out a day or two before. :B

  3. Interestingly enough (or not) I just finished tearing apart my whole sink drain a couple hours ago, because cleaning the P trap didn’t cure the non-draining problem.

      1. Mine completely fell apart on one of the two bathroom sinks. Tried to find a replacement: they don’t make that size/model any more. The new ones won’t fit the sink. Gives me a very good reason to save my money and buy a new sink and cabinet. I hate the one we have now anyway. Still doesn’t help with getting writing done. Luckily whenever I say “it’s time to rotate the cats” they disappear for two or three days. They never leave the house, but you don’t see them!

        1. Is it time to check if you have a local ReStore – habitat for humanity’s thrift shop for rehabbers and repairs – for a nice sink cheap? …Although that can be a time sink all its own…

          1. Yeah. We need to redo our counter/sink. thank heavens the faucet the people before us installed was a moen (MOAN) because when it broke and they no longer made it, they sent us a new one free.

  4. I spend an awful lot of time turning scenes over in my head, but never get to write them down. There’s a hilarious scene with a Nuclear self-destruct that’s just WAITING for a chance to come out….

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