I'm Back!

After weeks of absence, I'm back. Back on the wagon, that is. I've never actually gone anywhere (despite a few trips here and there).

I still believe in my 500-words-a-day challenge, but I've fallen off the wagon for so long now, I don't think I'd continue with the tally. Besides, these daily tallies are boring. Who wants to read how many words I've written yesterday or today or may write tomorrow?

What I want to say is that writing is a process, and sometimes you just can't force it. I know some writers keep writing every day even if they don't "feel it" -- they believe they can always fix the writing later. For me, I'm such a perfectionist that I simply can't put crap (at least, that's how I feel at the moment -- nothing is really perfect anyway) on the page when I'm creatively dry. As much as I pride myself as a writer, my life doesn't only revolve around it. I have other interests; I have friends; I have my family; I have obligations; I have other things I need to do, and it would only make it worse if I force myself to write the novel every day.

Experience has taught me that I don't like to be forced or restricted to do one thing and one thing only. I'd get bored and burned out. I know that eventually I will pick it up again, and the creative juice will flow again.

So, during my "hiatus" I kept thinking on the story, and how it would advance, and I kept having conversations with my characters. The build-up was worth it.

Yesterday I finally sat down and wrote again. I did about 1100 words, and I was pleased with them. It was a new opening for The Terrapin's Trail, and I really liked it. I shared it with a beta reader, and he seemed to like the new opening, too, and he asked just the right questions that I know I am on track. I like it when my readers are asking the right questions.

Granted, watching the miniseries The Pacific has helped me conceptualize and visualize these scenes. The show puts me in a mood and atmosphere that the books couldn't. I could do all the research I want and still not get it right -- fiction is different than non-fiction. So why not let Tom Hanks and his people do the research for me?  The miniseries helped put me in that mindset, and put me in those situations, as if I were actually there. I was also pleased to get some affirmation, things that I got right in my own novel and research, and things I needed to change.

No matter what, though, the story is going to be told through the prism of the modern world. I am not going to be able to write like I was born in 1925, and I need to think about the sensibilities of today's readers, not someone living in 1945. So that's the challenge for me -- how do I make the novel authentic but also relevant? How do you compensate for my lack of experience and yet not make the novel come off as a research paper?

I like a good challenge.


Melanie Avila said…
Good luck Ray!

I'm so far off the wagon the dust has settled and I've set up camp on the side of the road...
Ray said…
Time to take down the camp and climb back on. It's really not as bumpy as you thought.... * boing *

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