That first phase of writing fiction for me is collecting the raw materials. I have a concept and an idea of the story, characters and settings. All the elements enlarge, becoming illuminated, as I write the tale and finish the first draft. The first draft is always so raw. I’m not one of those who thinks the first draft is almost the final draft. It’s just raw material. Now it’s ready for shaping and carving. Sometimes I’ll add stuff, but mostly I add by removing material.

The work pace shifts into a smoother, more contemplative, and relaxing process. It’s like your dream house is being built. “It’s finally happening,” you keep telling yourself. “I almost stopped believing it would ever happen.” But tangible progress is visible. The foundation has been laid, the walls have been erected. Doors and a roof are in place. It’s less a collection of material and more like the place you dreamed. I feel the same with this novel in progress.

Time to write, edit and revise like crazy, at least one more time. Looking ahead, it appears there will be many more of these subjects to come. I embrace the pleasure of the work.


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