Back, Baby

Hold breath. Release.

Order, calm. 

Relax. It’s okay.

Sure. Yes. It’ll be okay.

So it went on Monday. My wife and I left on a car-cation. Just a road trip to Yachats. I wanted to write, of course, but I knew she was jealous of that. She wanted to break out of our regular structure of existence, hence the trip to the coast.

So, with reluctance, I agreed without speaking to her unspoken concern. It’s the kind of thing that works after being married through a few ice ages.

I worried, though, oh, I worried that I’d forgotten what I’d written, where I was in the ms., and what I was about to write or change. It helped that I was on draft number seven of April Showers 1921. It’s probably ninety percent written, with changes being made to sculpt the story, structure the plot, polish the prose, and exercise the pace. Still, I worried that the muses might decide to teach me a lesson because I’d ignored them for four days.

A more rational aspect of me reassured me that all would be well. That piece of me proved correct. I sat down with my computer and cuppa coffee today, opened the doc, and said, “Oh, that’s right. This part is wordy and awkward and needs some lovin’.”

Then I was off. Good day of writing — and editing — like crazy. Good to be back. Time to go on to other things.

Butt’s asleep, ya’ know? Yeah, writer’s butt; it’s the worse. They never warned you about writer’s butt when you told them you wanted to be a writer, did they?

Sick, Compromised, Logical, and Wrong

I confess, I’m not a good person to have as your driver on vacation. Yes, I’m safe, aware, and involved, but I’m also goal oriented. I’m driving for that destination. Stop to look at the view? That’ll slow us down. Eat? What? You have to pee? Are you kidding me?

Yes, once I put a goal into place, it’s hard to abandon. It’s true with my driving and my writing. What is a strength is also a problem.

I’m debating about a sixth book in the Incomplete States series. (The working title, The Final Time, came to me as soon as part of the brainstorm that inundated me last night.) It’s a logical decision to me, as though I’m in control of the whole thing. Yes, and no, of course.

First, I acknowledge, I’m a little sick of working on the series, sick in the sense that I need a time-out. Sick, as in the sense that I was eager to work on something different. I have a goal in mind, and I’m almost there. I don’t want to turn away from that goal. I see and understand that about myself.

I thought that maybe I could compromise with myself and my muses. I will write some on the side, maybe, maybe not, we’ll see (he said, hedging his commitment), and continue editing full-time. Yes, that sounds like a good compromise.

Yes, I’m pretty stupid at times, thinking that it’s all about logic, control, and goals.

That’s not it at all.

I forgot that I write for myself. I write for myself in the sense that I am my number one fan, and my number one reader. I write for myself because I want to know what I think. I want to know the story. To now think of the story and try to apply the brakes is ridiculous. I want to explore it; I want to know.

That means I must write it.

That might all fizzle out, of course. Perhaps as I begin exploring it, the story will peter out. I’ll conclude, there’s not anything more to write and learn here. I might write some and realize, well, this is really just part of the last book.

I don’t know. It’s foolish to waste time contemplating what might happen or whether I have a decision to make. I’m a writer, and must write, and then I’ll decide what to do with it.

My coffee is at hand. Time to write and edit like crazy, at least one more time.


Cyber Monday

Others call it Cyber Monday, but I call it Writing Monday.

Writing Monday follows Writing Sunday. It’s the day before Writing Tuesday, and comes two days after Writing Saturday. Writing Friday precedes Writing Saturday, and falls after Writing Thursday, and two days after Writing Wednesday Eve.

Sometimes, to make it easier to say and follow, I call Writing Monday, Monday.

Likewise, every day is Coffee Day, but I call the days by their ISO 8601 standard week days, because the coffee is implied. Hell, in many cases, it’s expected. What’s a Monday without coffee?

As I have a full cuppa of hot java at hand, it’s time to edit and write like crazy, at least one more time.

Time, Energy, and Patience

Incomplete States is a science-fiction infused historic series of possible futures. Book Three, Six (with Seven), now in editing and revision, also focuses on another intelligent species.

They are much different from Humans and the other species encountered in this historic series. Their culture, mores, and social structures aren’t like Humans or the rest. This makes editing them a powerful challenge, which translates into time, energy, and patience. Clarity, coherency, and consistency is demanded. This is the fourth day of editing and revising this thirteen-page chapter.

Time, energy, and patience has become my new editing and revising motto. I used to race through writing books and then become impatient with the editing and revising phases. I’ve developed a more acute respect for how editing and revising fit into the writing and publishing process as I’ve written more books.

The other aspect that’s found new respect in me is reading . On Sunday, a friend asked me, “How do you know when you’re done writing the novel after editing and revising it?” I told her, “That’s when the reader takes over. I write what I enjoy reading. If I, as the reader, am happy, then I’m done.” Of course, that’s when the professional editors take over.

Thinking about my answer later increased my appreciation for how reading helps writing. If I’m writing for a reader, me. I want that reader — me — to keep expanding their appreciation of what they’re reading. As I do, what I read and enjoy permeates the reader/writer/creator membrane. So expanding what I read, enjoy, and appreciate improves my writing and creating skills.

I like casting a wide net over my reading choices. I have favorite authors and genres, but enjoy exploring. I just finished reading Red Shirts (John Scalzi, 2011). Now I’m beginning Less (Andrew Sean Green, 2017, Pulitzer Prize). I’m still reading The Order of Time (Carlo Rovelli, 2018). That last book requires many pauses to think about what I’m reading, and revisiting parts of the book.

Of course, I’m also still reading Six (with Seven). I must read it to edit it.

Time to write edit like crazy, at least one more time.

Another Writing Update

Editing and revising continues on Book Three of Incomplete States, a novel titled, Six (with Seven). 

While remaining ambivalent about the title, I’m feeling more attached to it as I edit. I’m ambivalent about it because I conjure negative reactions from others about the title. I imagine that it will sour some because it’s different (gasp). But reading, editing, and revising the book has brought me closer to the title. I understand why that title came to me, and why it works. I also swung back toward ignoring and dismissing the naysayers, which basically goes along the lines, “Fuck you.” I like to think that they’ll be so in love with the series by the third book that they won’t care about the title.

See? I can be an dewy-eyed optimist.

Editing and revising Six (with Seven) hasn’t been all coffee and cookies. One chapter obviously needed major reconstruction. I struggled to fix it for several days. Then, one morning, I opened it and realized, the chapter didn’t work because everything had evolved away from it. It’d been an early, exploratory chapter. Now, it didn’t fit.

It still took some time to cut it. I liked the characters and the writing. It was damn prettified. I also worried that I was cutting it out of expediency. The muses didn’t agree, so I cut it. I saved it…just in case.

Once that chapter was removed, everything else fit together like fine tongue-and-groove construction. I loped through several chapters a day. It’s a fine thing to enjoy what you’ve written.

Enough patting myself on the back. Coffee has been downed, but this is free refills Friday. Time to write edit like crazy, at least one more time.

Unabashed Pleasure

Yes, I’m reading my baby, but I’m enjoy what I wrote almost two years ago. My baby in this matter is the second novel, Entangled LEREs, in the four book Incomplete States series. I’m often surprised as I’m reading it, thinking, “I wrote that?” I impress myself, but I was writing to me, and I’m easily impressed, so I wouldn’t be impressed that I’m impressed, if I were you.

This isn’t the first time that I’ve posted something like that. *shrug*. My observation about my writing pleasing me also belies how my writing process works. I usually stream scenes through me. “Release the muses!” I shout, and then write like crazy. Writing scenes are often like encountering a tsunami and being swept away. I know what I wrote and can give you the details, but I don’t recall thinking about it much. I think about it before I start writing and after I stop, but I rarely think about it during the process.

The point is, those words are a first shot at writing the scenes. Editing follows, and polishing, and more editing for continuity and pacing, and polishing and editing. I’m an organic writer, so that scene is often edited to help fit a later narrative that emerges. I learn the characters as I go, so their thoughts and interactions in these scenes are revisited and modified to suit their personalities, motives, and agendas. It’s a long way from the first stream of writing to even the beta draft that I’m editing into a first draft.

It’s also a little scary. As I read through these scenes, I wonder, do these things get sufficiently resolved? I won’t know until the entire series is edited.

I’m not worried about being scared. I suspect that I missed some thins when writing the beta draft of the series. That’s why I edit and revise. If I find that my fear is correct, I’ll edit and revise again, continuing that process until I’m satisfied that I’ve answered the questions in a manner and to a degree that will satisfy the reader, moi.

In an aside, as I’m reading and revising, it’s fun to re-discover how I’ve integrated friends and family’s names and segments of their lives into my fiction. For example, a comet that breaks up and destroys a planet is named Santella-Klements. The first is another part of the extended family and includes cousins close to me growing up while Klements is a friend’s last name.

Okay, time to write edit like crazy, at least one more time.

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