Do you do that, too? Do you search for the fiery dragon and find only the creaky old windmill? I know I do. I have a tendency to hear the squeak and, therefore, see only the rust. Nevermind the fact that the blades are, otherwise, shiny and oiled. The blasted thing is still turning! But the squeak! It’s maddening! Well, that’s human nature, I guess. Especially when it’s our squeak we’re hearing, and our blade with the rust that we’re seeing. That’s kind of where I am these days where writing is concerned. I’m listening hard for that squeak, and if I listen hard enough, I’m sure gonna hear it.
Can a story move too fast? Can it be too tight? Have I fleshed out too many characters? Not enough? Have I spent too much time on this scene, and not enough on that one? I’ve been asking myself questions like these quite a lot lately. First drafts are like that, you know. Insecurity abounds. What will the reader think of this? Of that? Well, as Willie Shakespeare himself wrote, “To thine own self be true.” Everyone has to have a rudder to get anywhere in life, right? Mine is channeled pretty deep after these so many (yes, many) years. So, despite the insecurity, I press on with the original draft of my new novel, WHERE SHADOWS LOOM. Actually, I’m feeling better about things just telling you about them now. Thanks, future reader. I’ll let you know more as I channel on. I’ve got a can of 3-in-1 oil right here beside me, should I hear another squeak, whether I need it or not.
Now where is that fiery dragon? I need it for my next scene. I know it’s around here somewhere.
Just so you will know, my sleeves are rolled, my reading glasses are perched over my nose, and I’m hovered over my keyboard the way a mother pigeon flutters over her squab. I’m hard at work on my next novel, WHERE SHADOWS LOOM. Like any expecting parent, I’m excited about the prospects but a little anxious about the results.
Writing is hard work. Writing well is exacting, hard work. As Sir Francis Bacon wrote (And I’ll quote it the way my dad did rather than how it was written because I like the sound of it a little better.): “Conversation maketh the ready man, reading maketh the learned man, but writing maketh the exact man.” No truer words were ever written, about communication at least. Conversation, indeed, prepares us to communicate offhand, which, by its very nature, lends itself to inaccuracies. Reading certainly teaches us, provides us with that precious gift of knowledge. It gives us the authority with which to communicate intelligently. But, as Bacon’s quote so eloquently states, writing–writing well–forces us to express what we mean and to mean what we express. I can assure you, writing well–saying what you mean and meaning what you say–is harder than it sounds. It is a struggle, a slog through a grueling process, that is matched only by the exhilaration of the creative process.
So, I toil away, reminded of Dad’s admonition and Bacon’s eloquent insight. Beyond that, I can only hope for the best. That great beyond is in your hands, the reader’s hands. When the time comes–should WHERE SHADOWS LOOM be deemed of sufficient quality to be published–I hope you’ll give this old, bleary-eyed writer his due. Read my work. All any author can ever ask for is to be read.
I know what you’re thinking about now. Here you are almost through reading this post and Gary still hasn’t told us one blasted thing about WHERE SHADOWS LOOM. What the heck is it about? Well, you’ll just have to stay tuned to future posts for answers to that question. I will tell you that I’m excited about it. I’m having fun with my flawed characters and the mounting circumstances they find themselves in. It is a rather tense work with many moving parts. Keep your fingers crossed that ole Gary can pull this one off. And stay tuned for any future developments I happen to divulge.
Oh, and while you’re staying tuned (Thank you very much!), if you haven’t already done so, give a look to a previously toiled-over piece of fiction I wrote, WANDERING WEST.