Home » Creativity » DNF


I’m something of a motor racing fan.  I used to try and keep up with Formula 1 and NASCAR back in the 1960’s and 70’s, and used to religiously watch racing on television before I realized there were other things I could do with the four or five hours I spent camping out watching people drive around an circles.  These days I generally check the stats on-line and leave it at that.

I used to love my GTR2 game, back when I had my Logictec G25 while with in-line shifter; I downloaded all the tracks and spent a lot of time tearing up the course.  I even finished the 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps, in the rain, driving 550 laps over the course of a week (you could save the game, which helped), and even did one fuel run in the dark with no headlights.  Never could complete the 24 Hours of Le Mans, though:  I was always blowing an engine right around the twelve hour mark, which tended to suck hard–though not as hard as the time I was running the 24 Hours of Hockenheim and lost the transmission of my Porsche at the twenty-two hour mark.

Good times, let me tell ya.

Not shown:  the time I barrol rolled my Masarati through Eau Rouge/Raidillon.  Who said virtual near-death experieneces can't be fun?

Not shown: the time I barrel-rolled my Lamborghini here through Eau Rouge/Raidillon. Who said virtual near-death experiences can’t be fun?

The expression used in racing to indicate a driver didn’t take the checker flag is “DNF”, otherwise known as Did Not Finish.  Crash out a hundred meters from the finish line on the last lap, and your standing will say DNF.  You didn’t make it, you didn’t end the race the right way, you may have managed some kind of standing, but you are DNF, love.  It’s a rare sort of driver who can crash out as they cross the finish line, have a car that’s not going to run ever again, and still win a race–just as Jeff Burton.

At the movement my current project is in a bit of a flux.  I’m wildly off the mark of what I wanted to do with one of the characters, and I’m back to the drawing board to try and get things amended.  The characterization is part way there, but I’m missing things, and my Points of View are all over the place.  And I realized last night that one bit of information that I gave to my beta reader–that I didn’t want to show too much about The Foundation before all the Normal kids arrived–well, child, I blew that shit right out of the water in the very first chapter, because if the reader is paying attention they’ll know something’s afoot, and it’s not normal.  If I’ve done this in plain sight, then what am I hiding?

Me being me there have been moments when I’ve thought about throwing up my hands and saying, “It was a good run, girl, but you gotta move on.”  Sure, a lot of writers get that way:  they hit a kind of wall, they feel everything is turning to shit, and they wanna bail.

I’m note a lot of writers.

I keep falling back to what Neil Gaiman has said, which in paraphrasing is, “Write.  Write every day.  Finish what you write.”  Sure, I could toss this story in the bin and mark it up to trying to write more than I was ready to write.  Egos do that sometime.  But I can’t, because I have something here.  It’s almost in place, but it needs changes.  And those changes will make it better–that is a fact.

I just gotta work through this.

I know I can.

21 thoughts on “DNF

  1. I’m in a similar position with my WIP. Over 60K words in and I realize my wrap around story sucks. lol…sigh. I so wanted this finished and in print by now. Oh well. As you say, back to the drawing or rather writing table. This will be finished. :-).

    • GTR2 was probably the best; the physics for it were nearly perfect. After a year there were probably a hundred tracks one could download and patch into the game, and I had a lot of them. I loved Spa and the old Nurburgring, and I raced both new and old Le Mans. I also raced old Spa, which was a killer track but fun to race virtually. Mount Panorama in New South Wales, Australia, was another fun one. And there were a few, like AVUS in Germany, that you realized people DID want to drive fast and die young, ’cause that track was insane.

      • Sounds great. My fave were Top Gear and Burnout and Mario Kart of course. With Burnout on the Snes you had a certain maount of nitrate fuel you had to ration whereas Burnout you could hit peak speed if you drove on the wrong side of the road.

  2. Good, finish it. You know, one of my favorite movies is “The last Samurai.” There is a quote from one of the scenes, that applies, and I keep in my thoughts. When the captain is trying to beat the guy showing him the way of the sword, (actually he is taking the opportunity to beat the crap out of him), the son of the Lord of the Samurai comes to him and says, “To many mind, no mind.” And he is right. We sometimes have to let go, and let it flow. We will over think and try and force a scene or push a character into our own preconceived notions. You, to many mind. We tend to over complicate it. No mind.

  3. Traded away all my PS2 racing games, and my two racing wheel/pedal systems; and when I separated, I let the kids keep the xbox 360, and I took the old PS2. No more Rally tracks for me, at least not for a while. Only Driver…which doesn’t count as a real racing series.

  4. I don’t know if you are familiar with Rally driving, but I spent a few years at that sport here in Ireland. What an adrenaline rush but what an expensive sport! When the kids came along that was that.
    I would never have guessed you were a F1 enthusiast. Great post Cassidy. “To finish first, first you have to finish.” That’s what they used to tell us at the start of each rally so we wouldn’t go mental.

    • I’ve seen rally driving, and was almost in a rally here years ago as a navigator. Some of the rally racing I’ve seen is insane; I couldn’t imagine powering through a turn sliding all the way, only a half meter from hitting something.

      • You would love it. Just like playstation or that game you mentioned, something clicks into place in your brain a couple of miles into a stage, and next thing you know you want more and more speed. Fear disappears. The brain is an amazing thing really. You know all this already 🙂

      • Back in the day, (before electricity), lol I use to run dirt track, you do slide through the corners, gear down and throttle to the floor and pumping it, turn into the slide. Gawd I miss it. Run low slide high, pray your A$$ off.

  5. I have no doubt that you’ll work through it. Sometimes you just have to trade a little paint to work your way to the head of the pack. 🙂

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