Closing on the Finish

It’s a weird thing, actually, but then, the writing process, organic and raw, often strikes me as a weird thing. In this case, as I wrote yesterday and today, I thought that I’m closing on the books’ finish. By that, I mean the beta draft, of course.

This isn’t a matter of page or word counts. The first is three hundred twenty-five Word pages, and the second is seventy-seven thousand words. I’ve cut away whole chapters as the story found shape.

No, this is just a feeling suddenly that it’s all coming together for a final rush toward the ending. I wrote a sense of the ending a few weeks into the novel-in-progress, sort of a light in the tunnel to aim toward. I’ve not revisited it in over a month, I think, so I know it’ll require major revisions to incorporate all the threads and ideas that’ve germinated into storylines since.

As always, I have a mixed response to this feeling that I’m coming to the end. It reminds me of being on vacation and realizing that I’m going home in a couple of days, that vacation will end. It’s been a good time, but I’ll go on to another phase of living.

I can be wrong. The muses might be pranking me. They may jerk the rug out from underfoot at the last minute, laughing as I fall on my ass.

Or I might finish and begin reading it and then discover that it’s a miserable load of dinosaur feces masquerading as a manuscript. It’s all happened before.

I address that with a shrug these days. Writing is always a process of discovery, re-thinking what’s been found and presented, twerking changes, refining what I think I know and what should be told. Editing and revising is a shift of how it’s done but it’s a continuation and refinement of the process. That’s my view, and I’m sticking to it.

Been another satisfying and productive day of writing like crazy. You know the scene: the coffee is gone, my ass is asleep, my stomach is rumbling, and the day awaits. Time to save and close the docs and walk away, at least one more time.

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Don’t Anger the Muses

I love it when I get in here to write, and I seem to know exactly where to begin and what to type. Little thinking is demanded; it’s just go, go, go. 

I know it’s not from ‘nowhere’ or some mysterious regions of my brain, or a gift from the muses. Truthfully, I’m agnostic. I’m not going to be categorical and say that it isn’t the muses. Maybe it is. Don’t want to outrage them by denigrating their contribution, you know. If it is due to the muses and they cut me off, I’d be bereft.

In my defense, I know that I stopped in the middle of a scene yesterday. I was following a trend. Once I’d shut down and was walking, thoughts arrived about what to do. Walking frequently acts as a laxative on my thinking, out there, going somewhere that only requires me to think, left, right, left, right — which out for the bus — permits to me to think.

I’d not been planning my thoughts and wasn’t actively thinking about the novel in specific ways. It was more a part of multi-streaming that I often do, especially while walking, surfing a little of one before jumping to another. This idea popped up, found its roots, and grew. More grew, developing new angles, as I showered and shaved this morning.

I guess it’s probable that I was thinking, but the muses were directing the streams and deciding what came to what. How’s that for a compromise?

Got my hot coffee. I’m in my chair. Time to write again, at least one more time.

 

Another Stimulating Day

It was another stimulating day of writing like crazy. The writing had taken off on startling tangents, tangents that made me laugh aloud, although quietly, because I’m in a public coffee shop and I’m not fond of attention. This session capped off several wild writing sessions where I just let it flow without thinking and then, ‘lo, the whole thing somehow connects in surprising ways.

Well, they surprised me. Hope to hell readers who didn’t write it also find them surprising.

So cool, so much fun and enjoyable. When it comes like this, I wonder if I’m writing it, remembering it from something I’ve read or written before, or just acting as a vessel. I wonder, but I don’t question it too deeply, accepting it as a mysterious but pleasurable process. Of course, then I came to the day’s stop, and suddenly all the usual angst about whether it was any good, made sense, etc., sank its fangs into me.

My coffee cup is empty and the novel in progress has been saved and closed. That reminds me that I put off doing a back-up yesterday. I need to do one. I don’t want to lose all of this because I was lazy.

Meanwhile, I’m done writing like crazy for today.

What School? (Updated)

Once again, Stephen King has managed to irritate me.

I’d been busy writing, thinking, and brainstorming yesterday, capping off the final few minutes of an enjoyable writing session. (I know, I seem like an eternal optimist, don’t I? Truth is, I don’t share many of the dark days. I don’t like dwelling on ’em.)

MS Word froze. Hell, the entire computer froze. With an exasperated, “WTF?”, I sat back, sipping the last of my cold coffee, hoping to wait it out. A few things were attempted to break the hold. Not a damn thing worked.

Hard reboot, please. I was sore about it, nay, pissed. I wanted to bring the doc up to finish those last few thoughts and paragraphs.

Twelve minutes later – was I counting? Ya think? – the docs were up with some final paragraphs missing. Grrr. The excitement had fizzled, the energy had dried up, the thrill was gone. (Cue B.B. King.) So was my coffee and the allotted time to write. I made a note to myself, just a brief, slightly cryptic thing. I figured, I’d remember…

Twenty-four hours later, I don’t remember. Well, I remember three out of four that I’d thought. Damn it, that fourth one is plaguing me.

Which brings me to the eternal question, which school do you belong to? Are you one that writes copious notes, or are you of the “I’ll remember it” school?

I used to be the copious notes school. Then I read that Stephen King said that he doesn’t keep notes. He said that if it was important, he’d remember it. How sage that sounded! I would be like Stephen King. He can do it, so I can, too…right?

First, I lied. I am a copious note maker. I have documents of notes about the novel in progress, explaining what and why, because I know that I’ll probably get lost in the tangled tales and forget. I invoked the Stephen King clause yesterday in an optimistic fit. While I don’t remember it now, I’m sure that I will as I write today…or tomorrow…or…sometime.

I hope.

Got my mind juice, a.k.a., coffee. Time to write like crazy, at least one more time.

UPDATE: I remembered the fourth as I began writing, and made a note of all four. Ah, the power of coffee.

 

Temptations

It’s hard staying disciplined today. I’m going through through my monthly cycles*, and I’m on a creative high. Sounds good, but…

My imagination has too many ideas about the novel in progress, rendering the process more difficult and challenging. Through my muses or myself, I’m besieged with new what-if scenarios. Each demands to be considered and incorporated, or discarded. Once a path is chosen, my fingers dash over the keyboard in mad hammering. As scenes and chapters are finished, new ideas jump in again.

The problem isn’t having ideas about the story or characters, or a writing block. The problem is that there’s so many ways to tell the story, so many choices about what to write. It seems like an enviable situation. Don’t be fooled. Knowledge gleaned from writing other novels has informed me, too many ideas can end up with a messy, messy novel. I know that I can write it all up and edit and revise, but I think that writing along the wrong paths dissipates the novel’s essence. Besides that, my puny brain struggles to keep everything straight. Adding more complications…well, complicates that process. The challenge is to find the best path and keep focused on it despite the temptations to stray, and some of them are very, very tempting.

Got my coffee. Know what time it is? Yep, time to write like crazy, at least one more time.

Note: my spectrums – the mood shifts from happy and optimistic, to dark and pessimistic and the energy levels that rise and fall – seemed monthly, perhaps driven by hormones, tides, or some other causes. My imagination runs on like cycles, as do my emotional and physical energy. Yes, some call this all hokum, others think of them as pseudo-science, but it’s something that I experience. Being aware of them helps me manage the dark times.

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