Some Explanations For Suck

Andrew’s log: Thursday. 11:25am.

Susan popped up on gchat last night and we started talking about the latest episode of The Walking Dead, which was THE best one of the season so far. Don’t know what I’m talking about? Go to Netflix, Redbox, Amazon, wherever you have to go and start watching this show NOW. /plug

Later on, she asked how I was doing with the whole Writerly Discouragement Thing. I told her I was still discouraged because of a noticeable lack of improvement in my writing. The problem, as I saw it, was having a pretty good handle on story planning, but a serious weakness in putting those plans into words strangers would find entertaining.

She thought I might be in a plateau, which I sort of believed. Sort of because calling a writing slump a plateau can easily be an excuse for never getting better. “Yeah, I suck right now, but it’s just a temporary thing. I’m in a plateau. Any minute now, I’ll be AWESOME!” This is all going on in my head even though I know it’s not what Susan meant. One of the many fantastic qualities about her is that she says what she means. As a simple minded male, I need this or my brain melts. Simple biology.

So, I’m in a plateau. How? And why does it feel never-ending? Susan came up with a great video game analogy that answered my question, which shall be known as:

The Level-Up Plateau

At the beginning of a video game, the obstacles are easy, the foes are inept and you move through the game at a brisk pace. At some point, the obstacles take a little more thinking to overcome and a foe comes along whose got your number. He laughs in your face as you repeatedly try to conquer him and move on to the next level. And then, all of the sudden . . . you’ve got his number. You kick his ass without breaking a sweat and jump off the couch, controller in hand yelling at the TV screen, “Bitch, pleeze. You ain’t shit!” Just me?

That makes sense and doesn’t sound like I’m making an excuse because even though the win felt easy, it took a lot of failure to get there. Susan went on to say that my extended slump of non-improvement might be a sign of passing the easier levels.

Hmm . . . interesting.

We also talked about having a few crappy manuscripts under one’s belt before having something worthy. As of now, I’m up to two and a half and when I look back at those, the biggest problem was a lack of proper story structure. I know a lot more about structure now and writing with that in mind is a lot harder than writing the way I used to.

BUT . . .

At least I have a reason for my funk I can wrap my brain around that doesn’t sound like an excuse or a cop-out. It sounds like I’m on the right path. Sounds like it. I don’t know for sure if I’m on said path, but, with Susan’s help, I’ve got a pretty good plan to help me find out.



3 comments on “Some Explanations For Suck

  1. Huzzah! And oh dear God,yes, the level up plateau. There are so many and the longer you’re in this crazy game, the more metaphoric Big Boss Levels you get to. And this is why, I prefer playing in co-op mode with peeps like Susan who’ve got my back with her +10 Shield of Talk Some Sense Into Us and you with your +15 Banner of Girl, Shut Yo Mouth, You Awesome.

  2. I never thought of writing being like a video game. But, yeah, I can see it. Levels. Hmm.

  3. @Kait- Yeah, I think I need periodic reminders of co-op mode.

    @LL- Something to think about.

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