The purgatory between books. Such a strange feeling, not to be writing.
So the sooner I start again, the sooner I'm out of purgatory.
The task of making "Lucifer's Forge" realistic--or at least, plausible--has been intimidating. But I like the characters and the plot, and I especially like the premise (wildfire fighers versus terrorists.) It's not like that premise won't remain topical.
I just need to have faith that it will all come together.
This is the first test of my new process. I took a full two months away from this book, so hopefully I come back to it with a new perspective. I intend a full rewrite, beginning to end, devoting almost as much time to the rewrite as I did to the first draft.
This is about upping my game.
I think there are three stages affecting the quality of a book.
Stage 1.) How much time and planning I put into it before I start. Stage 2.) The actual process of writing. Stage 3.) The rewrite.
All three stages are affected by how much time I devote to each one.
Stage 1, I still haven't managed to do much about, mainly because my writing tends to be rather impulsive.
For instance, after He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named was elected, I looked up "All Along the Watchtower by Bob Dylan because it had the right amount of foreboding to it. I posted it on Facebook with the line: "Bob Dylan: Seer."
For some reason, a short story started coming to me based on the song, so I wrote it. Than a second chapter, and before I know it, I'm writing a novella.
Most of my books seem to start with just these kinds of impulses, and I'm not sure I want to change that.
However, I do occasionally mull over a bigger idea, and for those books, I really need to just pull myself up short and spend a week or two writing notes. For instance, the next Virginia Reed book is going to be about murdered Chinese gold miners in Oregon. So, knowing that, I should sit down and think about it.
Stage 2: I'm happy with this. I've adjusted how much time and how many words I spend each day, how I incubate my creativity, how I fit my real life into the process and so on. I tinker with this, but mostly, I think I've found a very productive method.
Stage 3: This is where I think I can have the most effect. I already know that rewriting is always helpful. I already know that taking time to let it sit is helpful.
So I just need to follow through on this.
The trick for me to to find the proper balance between improving the story and ruining the story. By that, I mean I have a tendency to become rather obsessive, rewriting until I've ruined the story for myself. It doesn't seem to ruin it for others, strangely...it may even improve it. But I can't ruin my own stories and keep on writing, so that is something I have to watch out for.
So...giving it time, both for perspective and to make it not drudgery, is really important. I think a fairly light touch on rewriting is what is needed, not going in and throwing out entire portions or changing things around excessively.
Each time I read a story, I find things to change. But if I do it too often, the words tend to lose meaning, the story fades. Above all, I want to avoid that.
I'm Duncan McGeary, owner and/or operator for the last 33 years of Pegasus Books in Downtown Bend, Oregon. These days I'm writing books as well as selling them.
I'm the comic book guy. But even more so, I'm a book book guy. Books of all kinds. Big books and little books, children's and adult, fiction and non-fiction, hardback and paperback and trade paperback and graphic novels. Books with more words than pictures and books with more pictures than words. They are all part of the book world to me, and I love being surrounded by them every day.
I also have a second blog: Pegasus Books, where I list the product coming in over the next week.