I was overwhelmed with gratitude on my walk. I teared up. The story ideas that were coming to me were just so perfect.
I got a little carried away, came home and wrote a gushing missive to a friend about how great "Snaked" is and on and on.
Thought I sent the email and walked away and immediately had second thoughts. It seemed a little over the top. Came back to my computer and realized I hadn't sent the email. By then, I'd come to my senses and deleted it.
Meanwhile, I read the new chapter to Linda, and she picked holes in it and didn't seem overly impressed, and I figured, just business as usual.
But that's not how I feel.
It's hard for me to admit that I write adequate books, much less good ones. But this one feels like the real deal. I think it has everything I've learned to do, and is well written, and packed, and interesting, the characters are alive, it has some nice plot twists.
In other words, I think it's the 'good' book I've been trying for. Whether others will see it that way is a question, but I know what I've done, and I'm really proud of it.
I have felt that "Snaked" was my best book since I wrote it, and these new additions only add to the feeling. Such a simple editorial suggestion, (bring back the snakes!) but it was right on. (I think I hunger for editorial suggestions...)
Anyway, I do believe it improves a book that I already liked quite a lot. But I need to be careful not to get ahead of myself.
It's very strange how creative I'm being currently. I'm literally writing two books. "Tuskers IV" in the first half of the day and "Snaked" in the second half. It's not what I intended. I thought I'd finish "Tuskers IV" and only then turn to "Snaked," but the ideas are coming to me and I don't feel like I can turn them down. Plus, well, I need to write only two or three more chapters on "Snaked" and I'm done.
I also intend to finish "Fires of Allah" by the end of summer.
It's going to feel really good getting these three books finished.
I'm on a really good streak (which is nice after being bogged down on "Faerylander" and "Zombielander" for a month.) I've worked out a process that appears to maximize my writing effectiveness. The biggest part of that is the four mile walk I take every day. I don't know why, but it seems like I always come up with good ideas on my walk.
Basically, I tease the ideas out. Sit around, lay around, not forcing but continually reorienting toward the goal, waiting for the ideas and for the scene to flesh out. I'll ask myself questions about what I want. Sometimes I nap, grab stray ideas out of the air. Play a game of solitaire, but always coming back to the goal. If specific words come to me, I write them down, otherwise I wait until I have a bunch of ideas.
There is always the trigger, the moment when I know I've got it. Only then do I sit down and write it. Sometimes I stop halfway through and recharge my batteries, sometimes I have enough creative juice to finish the chapter.
Then I go for my walk, and often either a new chapter will come to me, or I'll burnish the chapter I'm working on.
Notice, I talk about chapters.
So here's how I once might have written the "Tuskers IV" chapter I wrote yesterday.
....Back at the barn, the humans are disgruntled with Enrique's leadership, which is turning dictatorial. Barry and Jenny talk it over, try to figure out what to do about it. Blah, blah, blah....
Here's the way I really wrote it: Barry is out on patrol, they capture a Tusker, (named Houdini), Barry treats it honorably and the Tusker acts honorably in return. Barry brings it back to the barn, where Enrique treats it horribly, and so on. In other words, I get all the same ideas across, but I do it through action and events and character building reactions.
Both "Snaked" and "Tuskers IV" are coming to me in a very organic way, somehow. That's happened before--"Tuskers I" for instance--but never as complete as this.
But I'm trying not too get excited by it. I often have this reaction when I'm writing my latest book, and it's just part of the creative process. I'll have to wait and see how I feel about it when I'm done and can look at it with some perspective.
2 days ago