Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Writing Process

NOVEL WORD COUNT: 113,931

28 days: Day 8

I'm standing in the kitchen, watching my wife anxiously through the screen door. She's sitting on the deck, her brows furrowed, a blue pen in her hand. The loose sheaf of papers in front of her stirs slightly in the breeze. She bends over and writes something on one of the pages. I glance over at my laptop set up on the kitchen table. I'm not writing at the moment. I can't. Micah, my inlaws' friendly dog, is watching me closely, hoping for some attention or perhaps a treat. I scratch him behind the ears. My wife's parents have asked us to cat and dog sit for a few days, and unlike our sweltering apartment, their house is cool. A good place to work.

Micah and I both look up when Bethany slides open the patio door. I'm chewing my nail.

"Well, what do you think?" I ask.

"Good. Really good. I just finished Chapter 8. It's your best chapter yet."

It sounds like a compliment, but I'm immediately confused. If chapter eight is my best chapter, what does that mean about the rest of it? Are the other chapters that poor?

"Is it better, writing wise, or…" I let my voice trail.

She frowns.

"No. I think it's just that everything is starting to come together. You're tying all the threads of the story together."

I'm nodding and then chewing my nail again. Bethany is my first, and only reader. She's become a wonderful editor these past four months. As someone who reads even more than I do, I trust her judgement. She is also my main source of encouragement. If the novel is published, it will be the force of her support that makes it happen.

She smiles and kisses me. I'm trying to give her my attention, but my mind is elsewhere. She knows me well, and she picks up her book and heads back outside to enjoy the sun. I look at my laptop. The cursor is blinking at the end of my latest paragraph. Forever blinking. Forever asking for more. I swallow and sit, close my eyes. Nothing happens. I try again, reading over my last two pages. It won't happen. My created world is inaccessible for the moment, and I'm stuck here in my inlaws' kitchen. I pet Micah and head downstairs to do some research. I'm surprised by the force of my fatigue, though on one level it feels good, as if I'm using muscles long dormant. It does not lessen the tiredness that seeps through me.

Writing fantasy is unlike anything I've ever written, and requires knowledge from a vast number of fields. History, philosophy, theology, architecture, government, economics, weaponry, the list is endless. And yet, Bethany is convinced that it is the right style, the right genre, for me. After many years and many attempts at other types of fiction, I agree with her. It does not make the task less daunting. It does make it more enjoyable.

I'm sitting downstairs at the computer, researching, hoping my world will let me back in some time tonight. I'm worried about Josh. Curious about De Nyara. In the meantime, I'm reading. Ever reading. And as always, hoping that one day I'll be able to introduce you to my world and some of the people I've met along the way.

-Steve.