Staring into the Abyss


There comes a time in every writer’s life . . . actually lots of times, if we’re going to be honest . . . when we stare into our monitors in the horrified realization that we’ve just finished the last battle. Victory has been achieved.

And, and now we have to find all those threads ends that are waving around and somehow weave them together with the victorious warriors and come out with a satisfying ending to whole wobbling mish mash that has occupied our minds and our days for months.

Now part of it is the let down from the rush of writing that battle. Actually a lot of it is. Especially if–like me–you put it off, circling and poking at it for days, before you finally rose to the challenge and absolutely creamed the Bad Guys.

I mean, look, I’m a fat old lady who’s never been in even a fist fight. And I definitely cannot do magic! So when I write a fight to get out of a building, and then a running fight down a road with tanks and Cyborgs, and Evil Mentalists . . . there’s a fair amount of imagination involved. In fact, I may have over-clocked the creative parts of my brain.

But this is the sort of down that disappears in a few moments, as one turns to the wrap up, and figures out what the Good Guys do afterwards. What the reward is, what they do next, are they heading home or heading even further out?

Who’s kissing who and who’s not?

By tomorrow my back brain will have absorbed the potential for some touching parts, at least two funny bits . . . And when I finish those, speaking from experience, there won’t be another let down. There will be a glow of satisfaction, because it didn’t just end, it ended right.

Hopefully the readers will feel it as well.


There are, of course, other abysses.

When we look at our sales, look at the white board with gaping places that ought to be full of things to be written, edited, and readied to publish, and wonder if we actually want to write anymore.

For me? Under Publishing I have a short story that’s already been accepted in an anthology. And that’s it. Under Editing I have a single novella that’s been hanging around waiting for me to polish it for a few years. Under Writing I have the final Ice story, two sort of fleshed out ideas for totally new series, a collection of stories following a young wizard’s life from six to sixteen–that needs two of the stories finished. And two barely started stories that sort of died on the vine.

And then I start laughing, because that somehow fails to look like the white board of someone whose run out of creativity. That’s the board of someone who has gotten caught up.

I guess I’d better enjoy it while I can.

It never lasts for long.



I’ll set this first draft aside for a month or so, before I re-read it, so the glaring holes stand out and demand to be fixed, so the clumsy dialog tags can be replaced, so I realize there’s not a scrap of description of the place this scene is happening and other fun things like that. Then the Beta Readers will get it and tell me what doesn’t work (have I mentioned that Alpha and Beta readers are worth their weight in gold?) and while they’re at it, they point out every typo, misspelling and misplaced comma in the whole manuscript. (I have a nasty feeling they may have a competition for who finds the most.)

Meanwhile, I’ll frantically create four versions of potential covers, fiddle with them, give up and pay someone to do it, still fiddle with it. And on the run up to my self-imposed publishing date, add the front and back matter, format it . . . and push the button.

But today I’m free.

Mind you, it’ll probably be less than a week before something that Must Be Written will pop into my head. Possibly one of the stalled stories, more likely something completely new.

I’ll kick myself and say “Stop fooling with the cover and publish ‘Double Dragon’ already!”

And my aesthetic sense will rear back and say “Not until you find a better font for the title!”

A writer is her own worst enemy. But not write?

I, like most of my fellow writers. Just. Can’t. Stop.

There is no abyss deep enough.

Generally because we take it as an interesting story prompt.



Top Image by Anja?#helpinghands #solidarity#stays healthy? from Pixabay

11 comments

  1. So you’re another font junky like I am, eh? ….but I can quit anytime I want to – I just don’t want to quit!

  2. Ugh. By the time I get ass far as the fonts, I’m too tired of the whole thing to hunt down a good font.

    This is science fiction. Refugees from a genetic engineering fad–they can morph into dragons–settled a distant planet 2000 years ago. 400 years ago a second ship arrived. There are still serious cultural issues, and now a third ship has arrived. Lieutenant Scarlet Magana joined the local police force as a way to study the local cultures, and has to deal with the odd double personalities of the dragons while assisting the investigation of a mass murderer. Which is a bit awkward as the alternate personality of the dragon assisting the police is one of the suspects.

  3. As far as I know, Pam, there is no competition for most typos found. Are you guys holding out on me?

    There is, however, a certain thrill in opening my inbox and seeing that you found at least some of my suggested changes useful.

  4. Well, the good news is that I’ve gotten my first novel up, published, and it’s actually SHOWING UP on Amazon and such. I am now a Published Author. Yay!

    Next goal, finish the next book in the series. A series that I’m scared might reach eleven books at this point…

        1. I don’t normally buy the first in a series when it comes out (because I lose track of the series before the next books come out), but because you’re here and it’s your first, congratulations on a sale! šŸ™‚

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