Friday, September 19, 2014

Writing Progress Report ... Hazard

I've had Laec whispering in my ear for weeks now, and while I've tried to ignore him so I could wrap up work on the house, a rainy Tuesday and a little atmospheric music conspired to lead me back to my keyboard. Reading through the first three chapters of Hazard and my notes/outline for the book, I realized it was Time.

The funny thing is, I haven't even been reading the past few months, which isn't like me since I normally devour a book a night when my insomnia kicks in. I guess I've just been too tired lately, what with all the physical labor going on around here. Head hits pillow, head falls asleep. But I picked up my kindle the other day and discovered I had three new pre-orders from some of my favorite authors waiting for me. I don't know if that was the shove I needed to get back to my own writing, but I opened the file for Hazard, tweaked my outline, and banged out the first chapter in months.

And when I say banged, that pretty much sums it up. The brain is like any muscle in your body--if you don't use it for awhile, it atrophies. Which means writing those first few pages after a long absence is like stepping into the gym after months of sitting on your ass. You have to work the kinks out of your writing muscles, get back into the flow. I remember I stopped writing at a transition point--I had the opening set up, knew where I was ultimately going, but hadn't figured out how to ease into it. Transitions are a pain to get right. Anyone who follows sequential TV series recognizes the Set Up Episode. You watch it and feel like you've just wasted an hour because nothing really happened, but those scenes are critical to the story and one of the hardest things to master. It's a question of balance--you need to impart important information without boring the reader or conking them over the head with the obvious, "HEY, STUFF IS GOING TO START HAPPENING IN A MINUTE AND YOU NEED TO KNOW WHY."

I must have rewritten the first couple of paragraphs ten times before I realized, who cares? Just get it all down now, you can edit it later.

So Laec is off and running again toward his latest misadventure. I'm not making any promises as to when I'll get him there. The daytime writing job that pays the bills has its ebbs and flows, and I'm suddenly in a flow right now, but I've promised myself to pull out the netbook each night and try to get an hour of writing in before I conk out. We'll see how it goes.