No, the title is not a typo. A solid set of character arcs is exactly what I seek on this journey. It may sound simple, but sometimes looking for a gold box filled with vengeful spirits who melt your face off does sound like an easier job.
When I was a child, Indiana Jones was my favorite thing in the world. The robust excitement of it all with its balletic violence and action packed whimsy was every young boy’s dream. I always wanted to do something that encompassed those same qualities, and would provide escapist entertainment wrapped around something with emotional depth to give people both much needed fun, and food for thought.
I’ve now been trying to make that dream come to life in the form of this book, the first in a series of four fantasy adventure stories about a reluctant dragon as he travels a mythical land seeking to destroy evil.
It never seemed real that most of writing was re-writing, but that’s exactly what it is. In an earlier article I compared writing to archeology. Your first draft is when you find your dig site, and that’s an important first step because you know the ground you stand on. But then comes the hardest part, the digging. Oh God, OH GOD, the digging.
You have to first unearth the building to see its outer shell, and then you have to go inside and slowly empty out all the sand, then you have to polish and restore it all so it may be studied, then you have to translate just what it is you found so you know exactly what it means, and after all that is done one of your hired hands stumbles on a loose brick revealing an entirely new set of chambers you need to clear out and the whole process starts all over again.
And you have to kill a bunch of Nazis while doing it.
It is fitting that Indiana Jones was the inspiration for this little series, because writing it is no longer an artistic pursuit. It has become a quest. A quest to break through my own shortcomings as a writer and artist to allow this story to be great in spite of everything I’ve unwittingly done to hinder it.
This guy, I really do believe in him even when my own self confidence is in short supply. He and the others really have a story that’s worth it, something that has the potential to be so special and so endearing that it could mean to so many others what Indiana Jones meant to me.
But every quest is exhausting, and my legs have just about given out. I’m not at the truck chase throwing Nazis under the wheel but later on, sailing a ship with a beaten and shot body with wounds needing to be dressed. I’m burnt out. The time has come for another rest, because killing Nazis and writing both can take a lot out of you, as enjoyable as both are.
Writing while burnt out is not a good idea. It becomes not an act of love for your story, but an exercise in torture and tedium that you just want to end. It is impossible to get quality work done while you’re burnt out. I’ve written and re-written this story to the point that merely thinking about another edit makes me physically exhausted.
And I’m not the only one. Everyone who helped out on this is exhausted from our Marcus Brody to our Short Round. Everyone needs the load taken off a bit for a time so that we’ll be back and ready to really deliver some good material that will further elevate this little piece of prose.
I’ll probably give myself a few weeks to recover, so I may fall in love with this pixilated menagerie of words all over again, to give it the attention and care it so richly deserves.
When that break ends though, there’s still a lot of digging to do.