This Phase

I began a new novel project at the beginning of the new year, April Showers 1921. I’m in the exploratory phase. While the character, story, and its cover popped up in a dream, and I can see it and hear the characters and story, sometimes ‘watching it’ like I’m seeing it on a television or movie screen. Then I’m scrambling to capture all the details, translate them to words, get the order right, and get it on paper.

It’s difficult. The pace is fast and relentless. My brain power lacks the capacity to absorb it.  Stopping to do and enjoy other things is hard because novel scenes are always popping out. Details spring into mind in the middle of conversations with other people. When I’m in an actual writing session and everything is channeled into a coherent order, the inexorable flow quickens. The faucet is opened but I have no control over the volume that pours into me. Becoming intense and exciting, I fall behind again, forcing me to break off and pace to regain control, take a deep breath, and go at it again.

I also want to jump ahead to learn more about the villains. They intrigue me, but my muses are being coy about them. They offer tantalizing glimpses but won’t let me see the whole thing yet.

Yeah, weird, but it’s my process. If I could, I’d just stay here with this novel, hour after hour, watching, listening, shaping and writing. I’d probably deprive myself of sleep and exercise, but not coffee, water, and food – a man needs to know his limitations.

I remind myself of my basic writing approach.

  1. Discipline: write every day.
  2. Patience: it’ll all come. Just keep writing.
  3. Persist: stay with the story and keep moving it forward.
  4. Write like crazy: capture what I can as I can, and then edit, polish, revise, and re-order scenes and paragraphs as necessary.
  5. Finish. The goal isn’t just to write but to tell a story in a novel.

These sessions leave me spent, as you can probably understand. I vex others because most energy is being diverted into writing this novel while I submit my last finished work to agents in search of publication.

The coffee shop is closing, and they’re kicking us out. It’s their usual Sunday thing. Done writing like crazy, at least for now.


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