I'm not done Beta Male, but I'm getting there.
The hard part won't be finishing it (that path is clear) - but making sure that people actually read it.
I don't think a book like this exists (and it should), so I've got some ideas on that front.
Stay the course, don't get distracted.
Got influenza this week the day after a hard workout. Hit me like a ton of bricks. Soaked my sheets in sweat for four days, my body turned against me.
I think I get how people die can die of this.
I mean, I think it's the flu.
It was either that, or, according to WebMD, cancer, HIV, malaria...
Why is that stuff you wrote a year ago reads like absolute shit today? Is it because distance alone makes you more objective? Or does it mean that you're actually getting better, that your mind is incrementally assimilating the craft of good writing over time, giving you fresh eyes? Both?
The BETA MALE draft, for the most part, is strong. But it's certainly not done - even though it felt like it was done a year ago. There's some stilted dialogue there that needs to be excised: characters taken out of an Ayn Rand book, characters that transparently convey philosophical points in a way that simply doesn't map onto the actual conversations that take place between people.
Here's a problem: you want your characters to talk about something interesting - about ideas. Except in real life, only a certain type of person talks about ideas (at least the interesting kind). Is your character one of these people? Maybe they are - but what about their friends, the people they're talking to? On paper, when two characters talk about ideas, it's easy to start straining the plausibility of the narrative - to make it seem like each character is just a mouthpiece for the author's own internal conversation about a topic.
This is the paradox of fiction - it's real and unreal at the same time. A writer, then, is a magician, someone who fuse these parts together, masking the union between these two contradictions.
Finishing the final (FINAL) draft of Beta Male at the moment. No major revisions, mostly just paring the fat, and fixing some of the dialogue. There's a temptation to go as fast as possible, to get it done now because I'm so excited about putting it out.
Got to remind myself to take my time with it, to release the best possible version of this book that I can.
Good work matters, and it matters a lot.
Just finished Fates and Furies, an excellent novel where the craft really shows.
Make it perfect, make it last forever...
I don't have the slightest idea what he's saying, but I like the way it sounds.
Working at my new job - seven straight days of escalating disaster. Every temporary recovery met with yet another crippling new insight, each small victory or path forward beset by yet another revelation that adds yet more layers of complexity to the problem we're trying to solve.
Everything we thought we knew (for almost a year) called into question - our foundational assumptions revealing themselves to be false, or at least in deeply question. Really really smart people calling me and the only other guy on my team absolute fucking retards.
"We're fucked, it's over."
I could see it in his eyes, and he could see it in mine. It's happened so many times I started keeping a spreadsheet.
Then again, we're not dead yet.
Not even close, motherfuckers.
people I admire
Bret Easton Ellis