Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Writing Wednesday: Finding my Muse

The creative writing side of being a writer is a funny thing, it is tough to control your output. In writing the first draft for my latest novel MIND THIEF my output has never been more uneven. I started out at a decent pace, about 1,000 words a day and was expecting to hash out my 50,000 word first draft by the end of October. I got to the 30,000 word mark and ground to a near halt. Half of October I wrote 0 words on it a day, either spending an hour writing three paragraphs, deleting them, rewriting the three paragraphs and deleting those as they were even worse, or being easily pulled away. At the end of October I was at the 40,000 word mark.

I set it aside in November, and wrote 20,000 words on a different novel. In December I worked on a third novel to see if my idea for a narrative would work, it did.

So then in the new year I committed myself to finishing MIND THIEF it was slow work, 500 - 800 words a day, or less. It took me two months to write the next 20,000.

Suddenly, My muse stopped by the other day and I wrote 12,000 words since Saturday. If I could do that every day I could write a novel a month and be my own book of the month club.

I realize writing will always be an uneven process, but hopefully this will be the extreme.

The bigger thing I learned is why I torture myself. It would have been easy to put this book aside at the 30,000 word mark or any other point but it is a good story.

I've got a understandable main character (Many editors have pointed out I don't do sympathetic main characters, so I shoot for understandable). I've got a heroine that my wife should be jealous of the time I spend thinking of her. I've got a bad guy who is up there with Stalin and Pol Pot as far as evilness. Most importantly the story revolves around their characters, if one of them were removed or replaced the story would fall apart.

So I have tortured myself with this novel, not because writing it is easy like it was with THE SETTING EARTH which I wrote in 6 weeks, but it is hard. It is a story in me that I needed to get out. Once I finish the rough draft which will be about 95,000 words I can use what I've learned in making these characters integral to the story in my other books.

I'm real proud of how the book is coming together and I've learned a lot about writing and myself in the process.


  1. And that is as good as it gets. I always write unevenly like that myself. If I can't write, I know I'm not ready. If I can write, it flows out of me so that I can hardly type fast enough.

    Ah, the characters I've written that I've lusted over. Odd, they always end up resembling my husband in some way (except Dylan who reminds me of me and makes me a little worried about myself).

  2. I've written female characters that remind me of myself and I had the same worries. But I figure some healthy narcissism never hurts in writing.

  3. Man, I need to get back to writing!

    One more box to unpack, and I'm free!