Thursday, June 02, 2011

Life doth slow a writer down...

Life oft times gets in our way, we sorry bunch of storytellers. There are newborns you have to go see, family reunions, picknics, parades, funerals, hospital visits as well as holidays. We are expected on holidays.

As writers who cherish every moment of time we have to write, we find the less time we have to write, we get more written. That sound like a paradox to you? But think of it, too much time on our hands and what do we do with it but fritter it away? Less time we have, generally speaking, the better we schedule and stick to said schedule. Scheduling time to write is really key to getting pages stacked up and eventually fit for editing and rewriting.

Lately, I have had so many distractions and problems thrown at me by life that a series of monkey wrenches are making it impossible to schedule time, so now I have to grab time wherever and whenever I can.

I embarked on the writing of Bismarck 2013 - tentative title. I have a whopping seventeen single-spaced pages completed, some four or five scenes. I am feeling pretty good about the quality (as I edit in the process of re-reading up to where I left off, then go forward), but not too thrilled with the quantity at this juncture.

While outside forces beyond my control have reduced the time I have had to work on the book, another outside force is working from within--the simple knowledge that I know I don't know enough...that I need to do far more research, and that I need to buckle down for that, despite the fact I want to jump into the writing.  This has always been a problem with me--more anxious to do the story than the research behind the story.

Don't get me wrong. I love reading and researching my topics but the story is bursting to get out of me and onto the now proverbial page which is now a screen and not a page.  The story wants be told, and the story does in fact dictate far more so than research, and that is as it should be. No matter what the backdrop for the human drama is, it needs remain as backdrop and not take over or overtake the story itself. If that happens, you need to be writing for Encylopedia Britanica, non-fiction and not fiction. Dramatic writing dictates the story comes first. Good example is the now 75 year-old classic Gone with the Wind. It is not about the Civil War. It is about Scarlet O'Hara as another Perils of Pauline tale; the burning of Atlanta and the War Between the States just happens around her.

So these are the issues revolving around the opening scenes of Bismarck for me right now. I will see to it these issues and this all important balance gets worked out. In the meantime, the pages I placed up earlier as openers have entirely been overhauled. Rest assured some pages are getting done despite the hassles of life's intrusions--some of which must take precedence over pushing the new novel along.

I blogged at  for my weekly article there on the Creative Process and how very Mystical and Magical it truly is and how it all comes down to we authors having OCD--obsessive compulsive disorder. I think that is part of the tussle to want to get underway with the story despite a feeling of needing to do more research at the same time. Two sides of the brain at war but then a story is a war and an author is its combatant. After all, with my Titanic 2012 and now Bismarck 2013, I am embarking on a new subcategory of suspsense--seafaring suspense.

Rob Walker
Titanic 2012, Children of Salem, and more...