Killing Time

It was an excellent day of editing, with little re-writing or revising required. Five chapters were edited. Although I kept part of myself separate as an objective measure to ensure continuity and clarity, reading my work was a reader’s delight. This was the sort of book I enjoy, and I was pleased with myself for what had come of my efforts of drinking coffee, staring out windows, talking to myself, dreaming, thinking, and typing. So, congrats to me.

Meanwhile, this evening, I had spare time to kill. It happens often when the daylight hours grow shorter. It suddenly seems like, hello, it feels like eight at night but it’s four P.M. I have energy but the darkness discourages activities.

So I’m reading. I’m usually reading several books. To pass time this evening, I resumed reading Carlo Rovelli’s book, The Order of Time. 

His book is a slow read for me. I typically read a few pages a week. Sometimes I don’t read it for a week or two. His book gives me a lot to think about. As I read, ideas stir in me like mice creeping out in search of food. I begin pacing, hunting for the handle about what I’m thinking.

And suddenly, I realize, there is a potential sixth book in the Incomplete States series. There is something else that can happen, that can be done. It seems like it should be done.

Drawing out a notebook that I kept for scribbling about ideas, I confirmed that I’d formed the basis for this final book back in March, 2017. There it was, in the musings about Chi-particle states as they decay and transition from being imaginary and traveling faster than light to gaining mass and energy as they slow to less than FTL, to interacting with a wave-function collapse to establish arrows of time. In those fourteen pages of thoughts, written over three days, was the answer that could be the basis for the final book.

I’m astonished that I overlooked something that I think is sort of obvious, now that I see it.

Naturally, a muse leaps out to take charge. Words flow like lava from an erupting super-volcano. Opening a new doc, I type. As I do, ideas accelerate. Scenes expand. Dialogue rushes in. Plot points follow. Pages are typed.

Of course, I was writing at home. That’s fraught with interruptions as my wife laughs aloud at things she sees and reads on the Internet, plays videos, and talks to me about the news. The cats come in to see why I’m making that noise with my fingers and whether it’s something that they can eat, and if it’s not, can I give them something to eat?

All this puts me on edge. I’m frustrated with the interruptions, excited about the ideas, and pensive about writing another book in the series. Knowing me, one book can easily become two, or three. I’m almost finished with editing book four, A Sense of Time. Do I really want to pursue a sixth?

It’s anguishing. It feels like, I’ve envisioned the framework for the book so I’m now compelled to write it.

I didn’t know how to finish this post. I write to help me understand what I think. I write to channel my thoughts and enthusiasm. I write to wonder…

I returned to the new document to read what I wrote. More ideas and arcs are squeezed out of me. I’m reluctant to agree to the muse and write a sixth book but the writing fever has me, again begging the question, who is in charge here? Is there a master?

I’ll see what I think tomorrow, when it’s time to 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.

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