Website of Science Fiction Writer Ron Collins

Fighting with my art

This past January I was at a convention and sat on a panel with Sandra Tayler. Along the way she used a phrase that has stayed with me. She had been talking about her daughter, and about times when she was “fighting with her art.”

That’s what I’m doing right now.

My production plan says that I will be complete with Episode 8 of my fantasy series by the end of the month. I still expect to succeed at hitting that goal, but right now my writing is all over the place. The problem, I think, is that I know what I want to happen (and roughly what I want the thing to be about). But I’m struggling to get back into the characters. *

* That’s my story and I’m sticking to it

I figure that I’m paying a price for setting the piece aside. If you remember, I was on a roll with it in November or December, but then focused everything I had on the Workshop in January and February. Now I’m trying to pick up where I left off, and the work is apparently feeling a little neglected. It’s cranky. I mean, the words, they come, but I know even as I’m creating them that they are not the words I want–or, maybe they are, but they are all catawampus and out of order.

This story is a little complex, after all. It has three threads that intertwine, and I’m still figuring out all the details.

And, yeah, I am fighting with my art.

That’s okay, of course. I’ve been around the block enough to know I just need to keep coming to the keyboard and keep throwing words at the page, and that eventually that thing that makes stories work will show up and all will be forgiven and all will be fine.


  1. John Rodriguez John Rodriguez
    March 21, 2014    

    You nailed it in the last paragraph. It’s all about iterating. So often, the first, second, and seventh thing we write is a mess, but the eighth one … that one’s gold. Trust is the writer’s weapon during the uncomfortable journey from ugly draft one to beautiful draft eight. As long as we trust our toolbox and our understanding of our characters, the right words will eventually come.

  2. March 21, 2014    

    Indeed, John–though I think you can also take the iteration thing too far, too.

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