Lost in Alter-Space…again

“but I’m just a pitiful anonymous”  (MM)

Reading through my novel Transference with the intent of preparing for a new edit seems to be an exercise in murderous self-doubt and self-annihilation:  I’m tearing myself apart.  If I doubted my own abilities before, by just a little, I am now shattered.  Until now, I’d always felt reassured that the middle three books of the Fleet Quintet (the central trilogy) were passably good, if not brilliant, and at least quite publishable, languishing in their unpublished state because of the impossible Commences which begins it all.

I now no longer know what to do next with my “career launch.”  My plans are awry.  I’ve written so much stuff it seems absurd not to keep on trying, to persist, to keep knocking on that door no matter how raw my knuckles, no matter than pain.  To keep on trying means to go on hoping and I feel that if I stop hoping, them my life sinks into that utter pointlessness that terrifies me so much.

So in the world of hope, I keep trying:  I consider Commences for self-publication.  I send Ultra to yet another agent.  I leave the short stories on the back burner…

And Transference?  What do I do with it?  I had thought to get a Fleet Trilogy (instead of a Quintet) off the ground but at what cost…?  It’s going to take MUCH more time and effort than I had expected and I no longer have the stamina (or courage.)  The vast rewrite of Commences killed off my creativity almost entirely.  The novel I wrote last year is garbage.  All the wonderful ideas I’ve had for novels remain just that:  beautiful jewels of ideas that I’m too terrified to actually attempt committing to page in fear of tarnishing them.  It seems that what you see in your head, in the sanctity of your own universe, is inevitably more exquisite than when it’s rendered in the material world.  Then it just becomes ugly and unwieldy, shapeless and prosaic.  This must be why artists/writers/any other kind of creative being ends up hating their work and feel nothing but doubt, embarrassment or despair over it.  I’m sure this isn’t a first realisation, but it is for me.  What does this mean?  That you should keep your beautiful ideas strictly inside your head in case you spoil them?  The trouble with beauty is that you want to share it and show to someone else, even if it’s poorly executed.  Otherwise we would all just die of loneliness and never be able to communicate anything at all.  Is there any point in  living, then?

So I shall just get on with it:  read through the rest of Transference, pretend that I can polish up the whole thing up in a month without collapsing with exhaustion…

Decision to be made later.


About susannahjbell

I am a writer of science fiction and other strange and surreal works. I mostly write novels and the occasional novelette. My published works include A Doorway into Ultra, the Fleet Quintet and the Exodus Sequence. I live in London in an attic flat but really want to live in a tree. I wanted to be an astrophysicist but would settle for an alien abduction. I write because I don’t know what to read.
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