Friday, June 13, 2003

The illusion of progress

I spent the day with the Winterking in the Ice Palace, slow going but going right, I think. I keep hoping that the story will pick me up by the scruff of the neck, as it sometimes does, and then it will just get written, or write itself; but at the moment the story is giving itself to me with a lamentable miserliness. Which shows that the plotting is the least of it: I already know what's going to happen, but that makes no difference at all. It often is puzzling to me, and not only in writing prose, that sometimes writing is just there, as if you simply had to write out what was already in your head, as easily as if you are taking dictation, and at other times it's like hacking at a coalface, every word hard won. There seems to be little predictability in this, although I have noticed with The Riddle that when I am coming up to some difficult emotional climax, everything becomes more difficult. Times like that the house gets very clean, I want to tidy up everything except my desk. And at other times I just have to write as fast as I can, and as much as I can. But I have found that it's best, in writing something as long as this, to be obedient to the whims of my mind; often I have to push past a barrier of reluctance which is simply laziness, but at other times that barrier seems to be there to permit other things to happen below the conscious part of writing. All very mysterious.

Anyway, in theory at least there are only four chapters to go. I could write them in a week, if I had a good week. I'm beginning to feel that I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

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