Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Bear down now, time

A new story is officially in the works. It even has a working title. A while back, months, I had an idea for a re-imagining of my original fantasy idea, the first book I ever finished and submitted. That work itself was a rework of a rewrite of a mulligan, and over the years, as I've grown, and studied, I realized that while I liked the story, and many aspects of it, some of the bones weren't durable enough to hold up such an ambitious project. Since writing that book, I wrote several others, as part of a series, and learned a lot about staying power within that sort of situation.

The re-imagining, as I put more and more weight on it eventually proved just as flawed. The difference was this time I could see it. This time I didn't commit a lot of time and energy toward it thinking it was one thing, when it was actually something else. I didn't have to go back to the drawing board either. As I was analyzing the weaknesses of the project, the lack of investment on my part because of certain similarities to previous projects, the lack of complexity within the underpinnings, the lack of connectivity between important characters, I actually happened upon another idea that I had set aside and apparently forgotten. That idea was an extrapolation of a few different things which had occurred to me personally, and that I was interested in, and it all took me to a new place, on multiple levels, in regards to what I could do with a story, and how far it could go. My pen began moving on its own.

And finally, I have enough details, enough random snippets on pieces of scrap paper that it's become impossible to keep it all together in my mind. I have to put it down in an organized fashion, or I will inevitably lose it. In my experience, stories can get to a critical mass point, where it occupies too much of a writer's waking mind, it crowds the brainspace. It's too heavy to carry around all day. Dropping it onto a stack of pages is less of a chore or activity, and more of a release. And I'm happy about being at that point, excited even.

One of the difficulties, of course, about being intrigued by a new project, is finishing up old ones. Chapter 19 is in the works, and I wouldn't describe it as a slog, overly much, but I would never call it easy. A few of the recent chapters had disagreeable lengths. In some cases, it didn't take me very long to get to where I needed to get to in order to continue the story I had outlined. In other cases, I discovered some things along the way that couldn't be ignored, or rushed, and by the time I was there, the chapter had ballooned far and away beyond the upper limit I set for myself. And I can't go back and fix it either. I have to get it all down. I have plenty of reasons to stop; I don't need any more.

No reviews back yet from the release... which I guess came out only a couple weeks ago. Time is always misbehaving, from my perspective. It never goes as fast or as slow as I'd prefer. It makes it really difficult to predict if I'll have enough.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Quiet industry

The book is out. It was released from pre-order status yesterday, and on the occasion I took some time to reflect on the scant few years I've been at this. I had the opportunity to talk to a new colleague about my writing and books, and I always talked about where things started, and how, and when, but comparing the dates of publication to the timeline of effort, it's only really been four years. It feels like longer to me, of course. I'm reminded of that interview where the reporter asks the entertainer about their "overnight success" and the entertainer gives the reporter that look, the look, insight into all the time when no one knew who they were. I'd like to have an interview like that someday.

I'm up to chapter 18, and the novel has turned out about as well as I could expect. I can foresee only a small number of wrinkles upcoming, and then I can call it a finished draft. It's exciting to feel like things have worked out well, but also disheartening to think that it's taken me this long. I look back at all the time I wasted, all the days when I could've been writing and wasn't. I look forward, though, and am happy that I can begin trying to open a new chapter of this story I'm making up as I go.

I don't have a lot to say, which is I think why I don't find myself doing this very often. The Con has come to town again, and I don't feel very motivated to attend. The book festival is happening again, and it is an anniversary of regret that I went, read from my book, was terrified, and haven't tried to go back since. I want to change that, but I don't know what smaller steps to take to build up to it.

I am also developing a new short story idea, but that is slow going, like always. As I said last time, telling people about it might have been a mistake. Whenever I think about it now, there's a hint of it that is disgusting to me, like a portion of it is under-cooked and I can literally taste it. I think if I develop some more of the parts that I feel good about, as opposed to simply hopeful, I think it will restore my confidence. The plan, moving forward is for there to be a holiday season of submissions, the novel, the short story, grad school. Perfect time for a miracle of acceptance.

In the mean time, though, I'll be in my quiet little corner, making plans out of dreams.