I’m not positive, but I’m pretty sure that the way I write novels is rather moronic. Once I start on page 1 of the book, there is only a single speed in my life. That speed is labeled as WRITE CONSTANTLY AND DO NOT STOP THERE IS NO STOPPING DON’T EVEN THINK OF STOPPING. The rough draft of Brother Dust: The Resurgence took three months. That’s the longest it’s ever taken me to complete a rough draft of a novel. I’ve written some in one month, most in around two months.
There are some real positives to writing at a moronicly fast pace. The main one is, you tend to get done pretty fast. As you can imagine, there are also drawbacks to keeping this pace. If you don’t have a solid outline, you can easily write yourself off into the wilderness and get lost in a hurry. You tend not to be the best friend/family member/whatever when you’re so consumed with a project. And then there’s the one that probably makes me sound like an old man. Your wrists hurt!
Maybe some day I’ll learn to write at a more measured pace, but so far that just doesn’t seem to be who I am creatively. As all encompassing and draining as writing a novel can be for me, I find that there’s a very odd period of time that comes after the rough draft is done. I call this period in my creative life the quiet time.
When I finish a novel, I’m done with it for a little while. I don’t want to read it, don’t want to think about it, don’t really want to even talk about it. I need a good solid week where I can do anything other than write fiction.
As that week ends, and I move into a second week, that’s when the quiet time really takes hold. Writing a novel is a humongous project, and suddenly having it absent from your life is an interesting sensation. It’s a relief to not be chained to the keyboard, but at the same time you no longer have that driving purpose and manic energy that comes along with trying to write a book.
Once a few weeks have gone by, you get to probably my favorite place as a writer. You start hearing rumblings on the outskirts of your quiet time. Ideas start flashing in your mind, plots and character motivations and action sequences begin presenting themselves to you. You can finally stomach the thought of picking up your rough draft and revisiting it, and not only that, but you have some great ideas on how to make it better. New ideas start showing up, too, and suddenly sequels and new projects began to take shape.
Soon, the quiet time will be over for me. We’re working on short stories, ramping up development of the book 2 plot structure, doing beta reading of Brother Dust: The Resurgence, and plenty more. And then, on the not too distant horizon, I see book 2, and I can already feel that crazy energy starting to return. I’d like to say I’ll approach writing the next book in a more sensible manner, that Steve and I will find a gear other than “WE’RE DOING THIS ALL THE WAY THERE IS NO STOPPING DON’T EVEN SAY THE WORD STOP WE NO LONGER ACKNOWLEDGE IT AS A WORD”, but somehow I doubt that’s the case.