Stalled and confused…

Posted on | August 11, 2016

I’m seriously stalled on my writing.

Programming has been taking up an awful lot of my time recently. It might be the medication; I finally have the right meds to support my brain’s capacity to program like never before, and I’ve been coding my heart out, both professionally and as a hobby, and the results have been astounding.

But in writing, I’m stalled. Two years ago, I wrote a Frozen/Honor Harrington fanfic that I put up on Archive Of Our Own, and it was pretty well-received. As a joke, I mentioned on my Tumblr that I might write more of them, and got a surprising wave of cheerful requests for more Frozen stuff. So I opened up a new blank file and started typing. Just as the first story was very much a critique of space opera in general and David Weber in particular, the second was going to follow the same path but try to do something different and address the neoreactionary movement. I wanted to do another Captain Anna / Lost Colony Elsa kind of thing, but with a really different and darker theme. I started with the premise of a book called The Cleanest Race, which is about how North Korea’s internal civil religion centers on the idea that NorKor’s people have the cleanest, purest, “best” genetics in the world, while the rest of the world suffers from being “genetic mongrels.” According to the NorKor civil religion, we’re ultimately doomed to die in our uncleanliness, but in the meantime we have a stash of brutes, geniuses, and demagogues who threaten to overwhelm NorKor and wipe out their purity, and that’s why they’re so poor, and why they must fight so hard, and remain so insular.

So I was going for a Star Trek Anna and a Warhammer: 40K Elsa, where the latter learns that her peoples’ view of the Federation is about as eff’d up as you can imagine. I started to get down into the weeds about how white racism has evolved a “white separatist” movement whose central arguments echo the NorKor propaganda— purity isn’t necessarily strength, but there is a strain of “pure whiteness” and it deserves its own “safe space” protected from the mongrels and brutes. It worked for a while because, you know, Elsa is really, really pale.

But now the story’s a mess and I don’t have an ending. And I really need to strip out anything that feels too much of the mallet-to-the-head.

Sigh.

Comments

2 Responses to “Stalled and confused…”

  1. Andy Wilson
    August 24th, 2016 @ 7:15 pm

    I empathize with the feeling of getting stuck, wedged and otherwise stymied. I’ve been there for the past couple years and my brain is just starting to have days where real creative effort is possible again. I’ve got my little notebook full of snippets, ideas, and scenes without endings or sometimes even beginnings.

    I don’t have the gazillion-dollar answer for you. I do have heartfelt agreement that it sucks and plenty of encouragement to keep at it. I commend to you Jim Henson’s approach to ending a scene that just wasn’t working: either blow something up or start throwing penguins all over the stage.

  2. Falbert Forester
    September 6th, 2016 @ 7:38 am

    I think getting stalled on your writing might be a consequence of either A) the meds or B) so much mental energy spent on coding leaves little for writing.

    That said, I do encourage you to keep working away at it. Every bit of writing, even throw-away stuff, might sometimes come back to become part of a larger, better project.

    And I liked seeing Captain Anna and Queen Elsa in your previous work. It was an enjoyable bringing together of the elements of a half-dozen animated films, plus the Honor Harrington series.

    @Andy Wilson: It worked for The Muppet Show!

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