Day 10 (ish) – lost without a map (part 2)

I’m lost in a thicket of verbiage at the moment, not sure exactly where I am or even how to get out. The story is rapidly spiralling out of control. This is no doubt the worst writing experience I’ve ever had, worse even than the rejection letter I received in 1991 which basically turned me off writing for over a decade, more or less. And what’s worse is that I’m causing it.

Every night, I fire up the laptop, get comfortable on the couch, and write. I managed around 800 words last night, and a further 500 tonight, which was nice, but it left me asking, ‘what exactly is the point of all this? How does it fit in with the story?’ I mean, yes, it features the characters I created, and the setting is the same, but what is it I’m trying to achieve?

By and large, apart from solely being for the reader’s entertainment, should a story have a greater purpose, especially a horror/weird tale? Should I be examining Peter and Hannah’s crumbling marriage in the light of the spooky goings on in the church? Has the plot been sacrificed to the need to have a cheap scare in each section?

I got some feedback from a person on a forum who was kind enough to read a recent story of mine. Overall, he liked the story itself, but felt that I had overwritten it somewhat (true) and that I needed to reconsider the characterisation and the relationship between the two leads (also true). I’m getting the same vibe here – without a guiding star, Pipes is just a sprawling mess with two characters who I’m shuttling from one encounter to the next. In short, I’m writing on autopilot and it sucks like you wouldn’t believe.

All that said, I can’t abandon the project now. I hate to think of the last week or so as being completely wasted. I suppose you learn more from a failure than a success. I’m reasonably sure I can have a first draft finished by mid next week, after which I’ll print it out and hide it from the sight of man and beast for a couple of weeks. But God, why does it feel like I’m extracting my teeth, one by one?

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