I am either writing my best book or my worst book. It’s one or the other, period. There’s definitely no in-between. How do I know this? Because I have never had a harder time writing a book than this one. All my others—not like there are a gazillion of them; only five—came pouring out pretty quickly. The process for them was simple: sit down at the computer and start typing; stop when you feel like it. Each one, once the research was done, just took a few weeks to draft, some less. I’ve been at this one since last fall.
A few months back I posted a piece on my blog about it. At the time I was struggling because I had a beginning and an end petty much thought out in my mind, but I was at a loss for what was going to go in the middle. Consequently, I stopped writing for about a month while I thought about the middle. Just to get off the dime and start writing again, here is what I literally put in the middle of the manuscript:
I figured I’d come back to the middle later. I knew what was going to happen in the end so I just began writing that section of the book hoping it would automatically lead me back to middle. So far it hasn’t. In fact I am struggling a bit with the end and I have quite a way to go before I get to the last page.
I have never written a book in segments before and while it doesn’t seem to be an issue, this entire project has been like a stubborn birth. It’s coming out back-asswards, it’s weeks behind and already it’s a problem and it isn’t even a teenager yet. So I figure if I ever do get this book done, it will either be my first best-seller or a total, total disaster.
I think the issue is one of time and circumstance—that much I have figured out. The book spans 20 years and there are several significant circumstances that occur—but not close to each other. That’s the problem. What do I write about between these major occurrences? I just can’t skip big chunks of time because I have to develop the characters and lead up to the major events. It’s just that the chunks are being…well, chunky, at least for now. Or, maybe they’re being clunky. Whatever.
What is especially unusual about this book is that it hasn’t been fun. All my other books were fun to write. This one is work. No doubt about it, I’m working at this one. It’s been as bad as an office cubicle job: I’m walled in, the coffee is stale, nobody can help because they’re all busy with their junk, the boss doesn’t like anything I show him and I have to come back tomorrow and do it all over again. But not to worry…you can always count on me to show up.
Here is one little bit of writing that comes easy: it’s a thank you to several folks who stopped by my blog recently: Kathleen Neiman, Peter Bolger, Ben East, Sarah Fritsche, Ron Carmean, JoePa26524, redemptionink, and Lynn Workman…thanks everyone, I appreciate your support!