The One Where I Use Too Many Gifs

I’ve been watching a lot of ARROW recently. For those who are unfamiliar, it’s a show on the CW based on the Green Arrow comic books from DC. It’s fantastic. Solid plot, great actors, and a fearlessness in the writing. Their writer’s room goes for the crazy, the unexpected, and the heartbreaking–I’m still recovering from the mid-season finale. Everyone on this show makes it look easy, but I know that behind it all is months of hard work, wrong turns, and scrapped scenes. If you enjoy well-done action, twisty plots, and bad ass characters, you need to be watching this show.

ArrowBitchWithWifi

BadassCanary

Concurrently, I’m in the midst of my second book. I’ve finished the first draft, done a quick revision, and had a few people read it. It’s a hot mess. I’d have more luck letting my dog walk over my keyboard. I’m frustrated and distraught that I’ll never get it into decent shape. I’m convinced I’m a fraud, a hack, a fluke. Looking at all the notes scattered around my desk, my stomach roils at the thought of tackling them and I cringe as I recall that other people have read it.

ArrowFelicityBrain

Looking back at THE COINCIDENCE OF COCONUT CAKE, I didn’t know how many rewrites I would have to do. With each revision, I had the blind optimism of a writer who thought they were almost done. I had no idea how far from a good draft I was. Ignorance was truly bliss. I happily hammered away at my keyboard. With book 2, I know that I have many involved and detailed revisions left. I can see the long slog of hard work I need to complete before the story flows effortlessly. I know the pain left to experience.

stuntrehearsal

ArrowSparDiggle

 

But there is only one way to a decent draft, and that’s through the crap. I have to work hard, and keep trying. I have to rewrite scenes from different angles, introduce new characters, and cut sections that aren’t working. I have to focus on my themes and polish my words. I have to change character traits that aren’t consistent, and analyze every motivation. Thinking about all of this makes me tired, fills me with doubt, and pushes me to the edge of the Pit of Despair.

ArrowSarahSalmonLadder

That’s right, that’s a woman kicking ass on the salmon ladder.

ArrowSalmonLadder

Bonus salmon ladder gif. You’re welcome.

But there is hope. Maybe this next book will never be right for publishing, but I’ve learned with struggling and persistence comes improvement. Eventually I’ll write a book that works, and has the perfect moment that looks effortless, but took months of hard work to set up and hone. To get there, I need to break it down into doable steps. Think about working on one thing, then another. Eventually, it will come together. And believing that might be the most important part of all.


arroweffortlessleapHe makes this look so easy.

ArrowMyGirl

That perfectly earned moment.

And seriously folks, start watching ARROW.

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Amy Reichert

Amy E. Reichert is the author of THE COINCIDENCE OF COCONUT CAKE (Simon & Schuster/Gallery, July 21 2015), about food, love, and second chances, and where serendipity comes in the form of a delicious coconut cake. Find out more at amyereichert.com.

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This article has 10 Comments

    1. Thanks, Karma! It is so overwhelming. I want so badly to be at a place where I can see the solutions– and I’m just not there. But the gratuitous gifs. help. 😉

    1. I’m seriously considering it. Or maybe smearing the keyboard with peanut butter and letting her lick it off. It would be so much better than the crap I have written. But I’ll get there. 😉

  1. 1. I love that gif of Arrow dude jumping

    2. I have so been there, and probably still am there, with the editing and revising. For my mental sanity I had to walk away for 3 months from a manuscript I though was pretty good until the sad realization occurred it isn’t really sellable. Or fixable. Needs to be gutted so hello new Nanowrimo MS and video games!

    3. I don’t understand how anyone on Arrow was ever fooled by Canary in a mask. She has the most identifiable chin dent. Even her own sister was sitting next to her (but drunk?) and did not recognize her because of an eye mask and a wig with longer, blonder hair. I laughed so hard when Canary removed her wig to reveal the same damn haircut but less of it. I mean…the wig is not even a different color. It’s been really hard for me to watch after that.

    1. Stephanie -1. I love watching him move, that leap is particularly awesome.
      2. (((hugs))) Man, have I been there. I sometimes wonder if that isn’t the future for my current ms. I’m just not sure it can be what I want it to be.
      3. *snort* You are so right – especially about the chin dent! but I love the show so much, I’m willing to ignore how stupid everyone is about identity. It’s a well known fact that the writers hate the “secret identity” aspect so I think they ignore it as much as possible. Plus, the Oliver/Felicity chemistry is magnificent, and Diggle makes me smile.

  2. Man, I am in the midst of revisions — and I know we’ve done A LOT WORSE. But it is still painful EVERY SINGLE TIME. So what I’m saying is, I feel ya. And it hurts! But hey, Chicago pizza in just about one month!!!!! (Yes, I’m crossing off the days on my calendar!)

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