October 7, 2011
I’m still wrestling with my demonic second book. And it’s hard. Really hard. It’s supposed to be easier, isn’t it? You’d think, having successfully worked through the editing process before, that I wouldn’t make the same mistakes over again. This time the writing should be better, seamless. Painless. Hah. Phooey.
This time it’s like plumbing the depths of the well. I’ve already skimmed off the clear, spring water and now the bucket’s hauling up sludge. When the muck settles, sometimes there’s something salvageable, but more often I have to dip the bucket again and again and hope the well’s been miraculously filled overnight.
I don’t think I’ll ever write ‘big’ books. All I Ever Wanted has been called ‘slender’, ‘a slim volume’, ‘short’ and other things that I don’t consider disparaging. I just say what I want to say and then I’m done—which is pretty much how I am in real life. So, this second book that I imagined would evolve into a doorstop of a novel (based on the large cast of characters and epic scale of my protagonist’s journey) is still a lean and sinewy thing. I’m tempted to put some meat on its bones. But will I be straying too far from what I always intend when I write—to leave room for whimsy, to make a character stick with one line, to create a world that’s vivid and palpable but not absolute—and if I make that detour, will it change the way I write forever?
Usually if I just write something, anything, it’ll start to flow. Like unblocking an artery. If I just write a page of self-serving crap that has no point and no intended audience I can float ideas around until, finally, one beautiful, clear thought bodysurfs out of the mosh and gets up on stage and screams, ‘Look at me, look at me!’
Oh, sorry. I have to go. I have an idea…