Sunday, July 24, 2016

Hit sixty thousand words yesterday on Tuskers IV, with four chapters to go.

It's not going to be easy to fit this under seventy thousand words, which is my goal. (All the other Tuskers hover around sixty thousand.)

The book will be as long as the story needs. I've learned not to rush it. Take one chapter at a time.

On my walk yesterday, it occurred to me that regardless of the quality of my writing, or whether anyone else likes it, it's still a miracle that a story comes alive. I keep saying, writing is satisfying all by itself. I love how a scene comes together, little ideas that start coalesce, and then a chapter comes together, and from a succession of chapters, a book comes together.

It also occurred to me that a "story" is not a "book." It's more like a house before the cleanup, before the fixtures, before the furnishings and the paint.

Something new is happening in my writing. I've mentioned before that I've learned to wait until I have a number of ideas before I start to write a scene. I then get more ideas as I write the scene. Lately, it seems like after I write the scene, but before I'm done for the day--say on my walk back to the car--I get more ideas, embellishments, or things I left out.

I've learned that assembling, or crafting, a chapter takes one step at a time, but the there comes a point where all the pieces come together.

The biggest thing that has happened to me over the last few years is that I have refined a process that brings out my best effort. The level of talent probably hasn't changed, whatever it is, though I've learned a few tricks.

But the preparation, the mental attitude, the timing, the incubation of ideas, all that continually improves.

The biggest part of that is coaxing my creativity--the subconscious ideas, if you will. I heard a movie director call it "coaxing a shy pet from under the couch." The other day, I heard Stephen King call it "catching a butterfly without crushing it." Same basic idea.

Create the time and setting for that shy creature to come out, develop a soft touch so that you don't crush it.

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