Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Up, up, and up

The end is near. Of the novel that is. I can't be sure if what I've drafted is award-winning, best-selling, critically-acclaimed material, but it feels really good to almost be done. It should've been done earlier this year, and as the weather thawed, ignited, and cooled off again, I consistently kicked myself for not being dedicated enough to it, for taking some weeks off. I second guessed, even third guessed. Even still, I know that the editing is going to be taxing and brutal, but I'm still happy. Get it all down before you realize it sucks. Words from my mentor, that I've actually passed on to several other people. When he first said them to me, I could not fathom how useful they would be.

It's November, so I've been asked about National Novel Writing Month. I won't be participating. I explain, and I believe, that the occasion originally was for people who kicked themselves year in, year out, about the book they "should" be writing. They take notes, they ponder, they tell a lot of people about it, then the words never quite find themselves onto a page. November is a good month, in America, with businesses winding down in preparation for the winter break, very few events are scheduled, and the Thanksgiving holiday makes the work month feel like half a month. Perfect time to plop down somewhere and bang out 50,000 words. But for me, I'm at the end of a project which I've already been working on. I'm not going to rush it, or do anything different for it than what I have been. I just don't need the incentive.

And what I did need, I found yesterday. Some people talk about writing themselves into holes. Crashing through the pages with little regard, gripping tightly to the creative muse and holding on for dear life. And sometimes, that kind of abandon can pin one into an unfortunate situation, sort of like barging into a villain's trap. The story logic and established facts of the writing create the sand pit or trap door or locked room. Then, following a bit of panic, it becomes time to calm down and write oneself out of that hole. Something similar happened to me. Not that I didn't see it coming, but I did find myself in a situation where the event would have increased impact because of its vicinity to the end of the book. I want all the words to be good, all the scenes, all the characters, but I work extra hard on making the beginnings and the endings that much more vivid and satisfying, if possible. So a situation that I hadn't put much weight on, after examining my outline, suddenly would be one of the seminal things that would characterize how the book ended. Pressure. And after a few days of brainstorming, I think I found a way to pull it off nicely. So, there's that.

There are changes occurring at my publisher. I'm a professional though, so that's about all I'll say. It has been very educational to learn how things work, and how they can change. The world is broad and filled with all kinds of people. I say that not to state the obvious, but only to point out how much more broad it is beyond my initial conceptions. As far as the people go, well, what I have been mostly intrigued by is finding the kinds of people I already knew, in places I never thought I would find them. Also on the topic of things I will only hint at, I may have a really interesting opportunity beginning of next year. Hopefully that won't fall through. I am using the chance as a spring board to make 2016 better and brighter. I'll be submitting the novel, starting a new one, and applying to read again at the local book festival. And maybe even a signing.

The sky is the limit, is what they say, but I think the limit is only us.

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