Last week I started writing in earnest the first chapter of F & F. At the moment it's just going to be a novella but that may change once I really get into it. Provided this chapter doesn't kill me first.
I know some of you are thinking "If the first chapter is that hard, then scrap it/change it/find your muse" and any other time I'd agree with you. When my brain doesn't want to focus on a story or a scene it's because there's something not right with it. That's not the case this time. This time the reason I'm having problems is that I'm writing in a gender neutral third person.
It's more difficult than composing a dialogue scene with no blocking or tags, more difficult than writing an argument between five people (AKA tag hell), and more difficult than getting through a Japanese business party scene without the American pissing off the company president.
Most of my writing is in third person, so that's not what's hanging me up. It's the gender neutral part. I like having the choice between using the character's name and the myriad of gender specific addresses (he/she, his/hers). Variety is the linguistic spice of a story and the spice must flow.
Well, in this chapter the spice is flowing like mud because this time I can't use any of the above. Hell, I can't even use the character's name because that's a dead giveaway too. I have to use their professional nickname instead. The same word, over and over again. I spend half of my writing time wracking my brain for other ways I can phrase a sentence so I don't have to use their nickname again and even then, three times out of five I end up using it anyway. It's driving me crazy (I know, short drive). I'm seriously tempted to use ______s instead. It would be a lot easier. What do you think? No? Is that your final answer? You still have three lifelines...
Yeah, you're right. It would look pretty stupid to have ________ in every third or fourth sentence. That means I'm stuck slogging through the spicy mud that I want to be a half melted chipotle chocolate bar but is in fact, just mud that I have to shape into something appealing. Doing the difficult thing now will make the later reveal much, much stronger. I have to keep reminding myself that the effort will be worth it.