This week has been a weird one for my writing. After several weeks of actual productivity I slammed into a wall composed of mediocrity. Specifically my mediocrity.
One of the problems of writing is that you often have to write about people doing things and experiencing things that you yourself have no knowledge of. That’s almost the whole point of both writing and reading.
Usually I can just project myself into my characters. I can ask myself “What if I…?” and when I can’t do that I can take someone I know as a template and say “What if they…?” But there are limits. Sometimes your characters get into a situation that is so removed from your reality that you might as well be trying to write in another language.
This week I have been trying to write a scene in which a man seduces a Goddess. A man that I’ve been setting up for a whole novel as a legendary seducer, a man of great charm. And this should be his greatest triumph. To sweet talk a Goddess of battle. And then I got to the scene and realised a few things.
I have no idea what constitutes seductive. When I want to charm someone I have to deploy a combination of cleavage and beer. Nobody has ever tried to seduce me and if they did I would excuse myself to the bathroom and then sneak out because if someone is trying to seduce me then it is definitely a set up of some kind. So I can’t ask myself what I would do or what would work on me.
I can’t rely on my wide experience of fiction because I don’t watch or read a lot of romance. I don’t have anything against it but it doesn’t do much for me. I’ve been trying to think of the seduction scenes from other genres of fiction but it’s hard to think of anything that’s not at least one out of creepy, abusive or really context specific.
In the end one of my other characters decided to save me by throwing himself on the plot in the way some people would throw themselves on a grenade. He did something epicly stupid and part of me is saying, “Oh, hun, no,” and part of me is steeping my fingers, leaning back in my chair and saying “Excellent, I’m going to make you regret that in the sequel.”
And after all that I’ve spent most of today wondering if can get away with cutting the entire scene out.
The other thing that happened this week was that I received the terrible news that I can never hope to be published because I don’t have the right education. Apparently if I don’t take courses in Journalism, Copywriting and Expository Prose then I cannot hope to stand out in the crapshoot that is querying. I’m not sure that’s true but then what would I know. I don’t even have a degree.
In all seriousness, I’d love to study writing properly but there are several problems with that. The biggest problem is that it’s not free to study and I am poor. There’s also the problem of my chronic ill-health. That means that I can’t just go out and earn the money to pay for study. Then there’s the problem that I only have so many spoons in a day and if I spend them all on studying then I’ll have to stop doing everything that isn’t studying.
I can’t believe that I was ever foolish enough to think that our society might be even slightly meritocratic.
And speaking of false meritocracy yes I am still salty about Boris fucking Johnson. I’ve spent my entire life feeling lazy and stupid and just not good enough. I have obsessed over every flaw and failure no matter how trivial. I have felt constantly unworthy. And now my country is run by a semi-sentient haystack in a badly fitting suit who is too fucking dense to pretend not to be a racist, entitled arsehole for ten minutes at a time.
But apparently that’s all ok because he knows all those fancy words and he’s promised to deliver Brexit. What a pity that he doesn’t seem to know how that’s going to work.
You realise, of course, that we are all fucked.