I wrote recently about the feelings that come about after I’ve sent a book off to the publisher, about how it was a mixed bag and whatnot.
All of that is true of course because I wouldn’t lie to you. But now that a little time has passed I wanted to revisit the subject because it’s getting interesting.
When you’re writing a novel it is, for me, important to focus upon it very thoroughly. At least with the books I’ve written thus far, I find that momentum has been important. Once I start that little snowball dribbling down the hill, I have to stay with it exclusively until I see the snow boulder into which it grows.
But during the between, once the immediate period of disorientation passes, lots of things can go on, all at the same damn time.
Now, before I even give the appearance of coming across with “Oh, look at all the great things I’m achieving,” I have to lead with this: most of what’s happening is a parade of ideas, character sketches, vignettes, verse, and occasionally a recipe… all of which never make it past the inside of my skull. Genius ideas that far too often whither on vines which are starting to show their age.
Having said that, I have scribbled a few things down. But there’s more.
I was advised recently that I might want to think about doing some more online networking, and I discovered several that were relevant to the sort of work I’m currently doing. This enables you to find other writers with similar problems and victories. Ideas are exchanged, suggestions are made, questions are asked. And, (BONUS), it’s fun.
And finally, for the first time in quite a while, I submitted some poetry to a journal. I’m not anticipating much, but as I said to a friend, it would be a hoot if something got picked up.
Returning to the topic of the mental-only masterpieces for a moment, there have been a few Cleanup Crew #3 ideas. These, unlike so many other Nobel-worthy ideas, tend to not be forgotten. I’ve been putting a good deal of thought into seemingly incidental characters from the first two books and wondering how I might be able to factor them into future installments. And as always, I’m trying to climb into the skin of each character, in order to further develop them, make them truer, more like people, breathing (or sometimes not, alas), the air of the place they occupy (which I hope to be able to make the reader sense as well), and help these friends of mine to process all of the new wrinkles to an already rapidly evolving family dynamic.
And while this is good for CUC, it marks the doom of the current period of free-range creativity. Because as the novel’s pieces begin to firm up and fall into place it’s time once again to power that laser scope and keep that red dot trained.
Guess I’d better enjoy the freedom while it lasts.
Totally unnecessary footnotes:
1. All this talk of “genius” and “Nobel-worthy” is being used as a tool of irony. Obviously, 99% of the drivel that prances through my head is garbage. But somewhere in the brief passage from conception to abandonment you’re always quite sure that you’ve just thought the single greatest thought that any mind in the post-Big Bang universe had ever dared to ponder.
2. The picture of the fellow holding the absurdly large flower is Henry Gibson, who was a cast member of the 1960’s comedy show Rowen and Martin’s Laugh-In. Henry, in this guise, would come out and read a poem, awkwardly bow, then leave. I remember being in 3rd grade and imitating him in class. It made my teacher laugh, which is the first time I can remember doing that to a grown-up, or more accurately a grown-up to whom I was not related. Who knows what that first yuck started?