Laughing All the Way

I found myself laughing as I edited today, because I was dealing with the holes.

Still editing Book Five, An Undying Quest, of the Incomplete States series, I have half of the novel edited. The thing about the holes and the society that use them is that I hadn’t planned these holes. The holes in discussion are worm holes, but small, controlled to some degree, such as the way that we control water by channeling and funneling it, and managing levels and temperatures, etc., that are located in a cavern on another planet. The people use the holes to travel to other places, and sometimes to other times, and, if they’re brave enough, to visit the dead.

As noted, they were completely spontaneous when I was writing that section, and created a history and structure on the go. Reading, editing, and revising it today, this society’s depths, history, and complexities surprised me. There’s a sense in reading it that it’s historic fiction, and that you have some sense of what’s meant by the terms and relationships because that’s your history.

I quite enjoyed reading it. Will it work for others? Maybe, maybe not. I think it was James Tiptree, Jr. (Alice Sheldon) who said something like, “Tell the story, and let the reader catch up, if they can.” That’s what I’m employing in this instance.

I must admit, one aspect of the holes was inspired by a scene from Field of Dreams (1989), when Terence Mann (James Early Jones) accepts the invitation from Shoeless Joe (Ray Liotta) to enter the corn. Love that scene.

Done writing and editing like crazy for another day. Off to join the real people, the real world, and the real sunshine.

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Stopping

I’m in such an editing and writing zone, enjoying reading what I’ve written, surprised by the characters and settings. I wrote this? Are you sure? Because I don’t remember it. Yet the notes tell me that I wrote it last June. Ah, where is my mind?

Now I need to stop. Plans were made and time has flitted past with a hummingbird’s speed. I’ve been busy for hours, and sad about stopping. That’s how it sometimes goes, but I take satisfaction in that it was a good day of writing and editing like crazy.

Cheers

The Challenge & Reward

I read so often about how hard fiction writing is. I won’t lie, it offers some challenging times. Writing will drive you mad with character and plot choices, word decisions, and problems with story-telling and pacing. It’ll daunt you with the eternal question, “What comes next?”

But when it all comes together, when you’re in that flow, whether it’s writing, editing, or polishing, when you finally encounter your results, it can be so sweet and fulfilling. I encountered that today, another moment of being surprised by what I’ve written.

It’s all not pages of gems or brilliance. I have read my writing sometimes and gagged in revulsion over what I’d written, using up adjectives to describe how sickened I felt with my attempts.

It’s so rewarding, though, when the opposite is encountered, as it was today while editing the fifth book in the Incomplete States series, An Undying Quest. There’ll be many readers, critics, and other writers who won’t like it. I know that from talking to readers. I’ve heard them say about best-selling novels, “He’s a wonderful writer, but I didn’t like the format.” Or, “She creates beautiful characters. Her writing is like poetry, but there was no ending. The story didn’t make any sense.”

Writers bring intent to their efforts to write. Our intentions as writers often morph as our brains develop insights into what we’re thinking and attempting to show. The story we were originally telling becomes another story. The ending that we stumble upon changes how the entire novel and its concept is regarded.

Through it all are the words and the mechanics of being clear, and the effort to keep the reader engaged, rolling the dice on telling too much or not enough, hoping that the readers see what you’re doing, even though you know that they will find and take away meanings that you, the writer, never saw or intended.

Our brains just don’t work the same way. Our brains depend upon our individual knowledge, emotions, and experiences to find and assign meaning to the words that we read and hear. Although we have standardized agreement about words and their definition, each of us have our own twists and tweaks.

I write about this subject often, the joy of writing, editing, and revising one’s own novel. The process is engaging. It’s a daily escape for me, and today’s editing session kept me glued to my chair and deep in the novel. People came and went as the minutes raced passed. My coffee went untouched. A loud noise finally startled me out of my focus. Then I was shocked by how much time had passed.

It was a good day. But, there are other days…

There are days when he process can drain my soul, obliterating my good mood. Sometimes ideas and words begrudge coming out. Gritting my teeth, sighing, and gulping coffee, I just keep working it and working it, knowing that I’ll re-work it later, probably several times.

I’m pleased that I’ve progressed as a writer (at least in my mind), but I know there’s much more to learn, and so many more ways in which I can progress. I have more ideas, concepts, stories, settings, and characters idling in my mind. I look forward to my attempts to write them. I look forward to progressing as a writer, editor, and story-teller. Then again, effort, hope, and determination don’t promise anything as a result. I could end up flaming out.

It becomes an interesting loop, though — despair, effort, struggle, results, inspiration, hope, despair, effort, struggle, results — and so on. Trying, and finally succeeding with writing something that doesn’t cause me to choke with disgust inspires me to try again, and again. I tell yourself, “You did this once. You can do it again.” So I try, and try, and try.

That’s what it’s all about for me.

It was a good day of writing and editing like crazy. Time to chug down my cold coffee and return to life.

Cheers

 

Progress Report – Incomplete States

I finished editing and revising A Sense of Time today. It’s the fourth book in the Incomplete States series. It’s three hundred thirteen double-spaced Word pages, and seventy-five thousand words. I’ll begin editing and revising the fifth book, An Undying Quest, tomorrow.

Meanwhile, I’ve continued work on the side with the sixth book, The Final Time. I look forward to working on it full time after I edit the fifth book. Based on my projected social calendar and holidays, and my pace with the other books, I’ll probably finish editing and revising An Undying Quest by December’s end.

Done for today, though. It’s becoming cold outside. That bastard wind never relented and the sun is skulking behind layers of clouds. Time to go home, maybe have some hot soup for lunch.

It was a good day of writing and editing like crazy.

A Summit of Positive Energy

I awoke early, but stayed in bed. The muses were already up, and were in a dictating mood.

They were working on the next novel in the Incomplete States series. The Final Time is the sixth book in the series, which is about five more than I’d planned.

Apparently, while I’d been sleeping, I’d been thinking over the novel’s concept challenges. While doing that, my muses engaged with my subconscious. Net results were that they’d figure out the issues and objections bugging me yesterday, and had created action and dialogue.

After staying in bed, I heard the muses out, and then got up, went into my office, a.k.a. the snug, powered up and typed. It wasn’t a lot, ten free-flowing pages, about eighteen hundred words that must now be edited, but that manner of spontaneous writing inspires me. It’s the best kind of writing, because it seems like it’s a writing zone. The book seems powerfully tangible. The process leaves me breathless and energized with excitement.

There’s always a caveat to this. Just as I have a few days in a dark trough roughly once a month, I also crest a summit of positive energy once a month. I endure the dark trough. It ain’t fun. During that time, I feel bitter. Drenched with self-pity, I despise myself and the world. Sometimes, when it’s really dark, I wonder WTF do I ever write? What is the point of this crap? Why do I put myself through it? Surely it’d be easier not to be a struggling writer, but someone who lives the retired life, traveling, puttering around the house, going to the gym three mornings a week, taking in movies, and so on. That appears to be what my retired friends do. It sounds appealing when I’m sunk in the dark trough.

But this summit? Man, it’s a joy. I accept it and run with it. Sometimes, though, that positive energy gets carried away, and the promises that I make during this time are difficult to fulfill when I crash into the trough. And again, that’s my life.

The trick with the mood extremes is to write no matter what I’m feeling or experienced, and accept that what I write may be great or terrible in either state, but it must be edited later.

Okay, got my coffee. Time to edit and write like crazy, you know, at least one more time.

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.

Progress Report – Incomplete States

I wrote five books (originally four) for my latest work in process.

I began work on this series in July, 2016. It was originally one book in concept, but what did I know? Eventually, it became four books. Then I felt it necessary to split the original final book into two books because it was over six hundred pages and three hundred thousand words. In an amusing aside, twenty-five documents were created to develop the five books, with well over a million words.

I considered the first take on the entire series to be a beta draft because the novels’ story lines were so interwoven. While written one at a time, I often edited and revised the previous books as I learned the story.

Now I’m editing the fourth book, creating a true first draft of the Incomplete States series by clarifying that story. Once the first draft is finished, another draft will be required to ensure that the same story is being told in the series’ five books (Four on Kyrios, Entangled LEREs, Six (with Seven), A Sense of Time, and An Undying Quest). Then comes another draft to sharpen and polish, and then it goes to the editors for their input.

I’d expected to have the series’ first draft completed by Thanksgiving, but my error (not saving a backup) set me back (lesson learned). I now have December twenty-first as my target date for completion. It’s not unreasonable, as long as I don’t do anything stupid.

Meanwhile, it is fun to read my creation. I’m enjoying myself. My writing /editing time is a sanctuary from existence’s frustration, pain, and weariness.

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

Corny Thanks

Sitting down at the coffee shop to write on this Thanksgiving Day in America, I pause to give thanks for how lucky I’ve been. I frequently complain but most of these are first world blues or the general venting against how the world functions in this life-experience-reality-existence.

I could enumerate the many ways that I’ve been lucky, but I don’t think that’s needed. Little of it has been within my control. I’m thankful for the strokes of luck that made and keep me fortunate. That doesn’t mean that I’ve not had bad times, but that I’ve always been able to recover. I wish others the same sort of luck, and that you have the security and health to pursue your dreams.

Now, I have my coffee. With that brief word of thanks, it’s time to write and edit like crazy, at least one more time. Sure, it’s a holiday, but the muses gotta write.

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