Sometimes things just click—but not all at once. I had started thinking about and planning a project very slowly about two years ago. A character and basic plot had been gnawing at my brain but it was still pretty vague and I wasn’t in a big rush to get to it; I wanted to do it right. After a lot more reading and jotting down many more notes I started writing it properly after about a year had passed, but then had to let it go for a while to help another writer prep their book for a POD release, and only got back to it a couple of months later. It was hard going, but I was set on the story I wanted to write and so soldiered on. As the pages piled up though, it got to be more and more effort, it just wasn’t developing the way I wanted it to, the pace was far too slow and still not achieving the depth of thought I wanted to express. Still, having put all those hours in I wasn’t ready to quit just yet.
What I did instead was to set it aside for the time being, give my noggin a rest and let the characters and their tale simmer down a bit. This was easy to do since ‘real life’ perked up again as it occasionally does, and those demands for attention kept my days quite full as it was. But all the while this book that I wanted to write was worming its way through my mind, a desire that could be ignored but not fully killed. So I eventually got back to it, or at least tried to, but once more all of the problems that had been there came charging to the forefront. Just where was I going with this? What was I trying to do? I was forty-some pages in but it felt like two hundred.
Frustrated, I set it down again, this time deciding not to progress without really giving the thing an overhaul. And then it hit me—an idea for an entirely new format, an entirely new direction, an entirely new story. The basic idea was still there, a glowing golden nugget that would be unrecognizable to anyone who compared the two files but me, but everything else was brand-spanking new. And it worked. It’s been working, it’s been working like mad and so have I, flying through the chapters with my brain frying itself out in a relentless push that will not subside. It’s like I’ve got to get the thing out of me, I can hardly understand this drive myself.
Brass tacks? Projects have lives of their own, I think, and sometimes you have to be willing to euthanize one to make way for a screaming ogre baby that’s tearing its way out of your gut. Now there’s a nice image to get you motivated!
Next week, Paul j Rogers looks at first novels.