Last week has been most eventful for me, with my second book getting in gear at long last.
Writing has been a steady habit and hobby of mine since July of 2014, and coming up in a few months I will have been writing pretty non stop for two years. My most treasured work is my first novel, which is still undergoing final edits before the long and painful quest for an agent.
Even before that was finished, I decided to start book two as this was the first in a series of four books. I had struggled since April in an attempt to get back into the swing of it, often spending six hours in front of a blank screen and only turning out a few pages. I got easily distracted and couldn’t really think of what to do with this story I had that wasn’t quite finished.
My biggest fear was that I had lost the magic that drew me to it in the first place, and that the completion of the later parts of this journey would be less a journey in storytelling and more an exercise in tedium. That’s s not what I wanted for these characters since they had been such a joy to be around and learn about, and I wanted to get to know them better. I feared all that could be done with them had been done, so the following chapters wouldn’t measure up to the first.
This week, that changed. My output has improved dramatically, with a low haul of two thousand words and five pages. On good days, I easily top nine and ten pages, Stephen King’s recommended daily minimum. My last session, on Friday, was a very exciting and productive one.
It was the first major action sequence in the book. Though I had a small set piece in the prologue, it was nothing compared to the damage my lead character can do. The first eighty pages were devoted to plot and character development as well as world building. Now I’m in the middle of that action scene, and the ideas just keep coming.
It doesn’t feel tedious anymore. I know the ending of the story and am eager to see how they get there, and look at my next session not with dread and sadness, but anticipation and excitement. Best part is, this is only the first draft. The second draft will be even better, as will the third, the fourth, and any that come after.
Maybe my crime was expecting this to be perfect from draft 1, and that’s never how writing goes. Your first go at it is flawed, but when a flawed piece is in front of you, it’s so much easier to fix it and turn it into something great. The last book didn’t come out in one draft. It took five to get the story and the prose just right, and I needed to re-learn that.
All I can say is they’re back. Zhyx the red dragon, River the Flatlander, Celice Arietta, Professor Graga ‘Blondie’ Kelpla and Hunter Nightshadow have come home. They were good company during my first year away from home, and it’s good to know I can sit down with them again. We have a lot of catching up to do.