Wednesday, September 25, 2013

An author's brain after midnight...

Some authors are able to write organically. I think of their process as sitting in a diner with the characters who will be in their novel, and over coffee and runny eggs these characters tell their story while the author dutifully records their account of the events that came to pass. Then the author has to determine which point(s) of view on which to focus and edit the story appropriately. The author has work to do, but it's as if the story is a gift to them from their characters, even if seems like a gag gift sometimes. 

I've written three novels, and there has been nothing organic about them. The characters have been carefully profiled to the finest detail so I know how they would or wouldn't react when exposed to certain stimuli. (Even using the same main characters, the profiles have to be redone so I know how the events of the previous novel have shaped the characters.) The plot or storyline is outlined in detail, often resembling the process of recovering a vehicle from the deepest depths of a swamp while dodging the alligators and cooyons. The subplots have to be chased down like Obamaphone recipients who are being asked to show proof that they've tried to find work since the 2008 election. For me, writing is a grind. That's not to say I don't love it, but it will never be the way I make my living. Being a pastor is too important to me to commit too often to that routine. (It's no coincidence that I wrote my first novel while I didn't have a congregation to serve full time.)

I'm giving thought to a writing project with no connection to my trilogy. It would be aimed at a different audience, and the characters and setting would be new to me. The prospect is a bit daunting, I admit. I know I can write a novel. After all, I've already written three. But do I have what it takes to start from scratch again? 

Anyone can write a novel. These days you don't even need to be literate to do it as long as you have the right software or enough money to pay a ghostwriter. But to do it more than once? That requires stubbornness, foolishness, at least a touch of masochism...and you have to love to do it. 

What do you know? I'm uniquely qualified on all counts. Guess I should get back to it.

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