Well, the first two week cycle of my increased blog output ended last week with no post on the poetry blog, but successfully on the other three, and now we’re back to this blog, it being Tuesday and all.
So now that we’ve got the progress started, rather than talk about that for another post I want to talk about my work in progress. And before I can do that, I’d like to spend a minute talking about talking about a WIP.
Your (and MY) WIP: To Talk or Not to Talk
Some writers will carry you along with them in their creative process. Like me they have author blogs and newsletters, and they will post with updates about what they’re working on, sometimes from the first few paragraphs right until the work is completed.
Others, including one whose advice I take quite seriously, are very reluctant to talk about what they’re working on at all. As in many aspects of my life, I guess I find myself somewhere in the middle on the topic.
Earlier in my career I was a lot more likely to babble on about a book I was writing, or at least some aspect of it. Maybe I’ve hit a rough patch and I need to vent, or, conversely, things are going really well and I need to crow about how strong it makes me feel. So I’ve done that, and I don’t really know if that would fall under the category of prohibition on WIP talk, if I’m talking about the process and not the details.
Also, in the case of my series writing I will often talk about a character that will be important in the story, especially if it’s someone we met in an earlier installation, to give the reader a little background and (hopefully) to stir up some excitement about reading it when it’s done.
The More Things Are Different
But my current WIP is different. And it’s the things that make it different which I want to talk to you about.
In my list of publications on Amazon you’ll find my name attached to three different series, Cerah of Quadar, Cleanup Crew, and the Spyco Adventures. Series work has its own rewards, and its own pitfalls, and writing one requires things from an author that a standalone novel doesn’t require. There’s no need to worry about cross-book continuity, underlying story lines, recurring characters and themes. There are other freedoms that come with a story which will begin and end forever between the covers of a single volume, as I’ve discovered in the process.
One of the parts of working on this book that has been been the most fun is the fact that one of the characters has a similar background to me in the area of the cartoons he loved as a kid. Which brings us to the biggest reveal that this post will contain, and that’s the importance to the story of the guy to the right.
If you’re old enough to know who he is then you may remember his great quest in life, and you may be able to put two and two together and begin to sniff out the theme of the work.
But that’s not all that’s different or important about the new book, (of which I have fastidiously not revealed title, and will hold of on doing till I’m closer to it being finished. This is an example of me being more on the “don’t talk” end of the spectrum, but still closer to the middle than the extreme.)
Because there were not predetermined aspects as I started writing, (returning characters, an established writing style, etc.) I was free to focus more energy on elevating the writing from the get-go. I’ve talked in the past about how I’ll write my first draft, attempting to do the best on-the-fly writing that I can, then elevate in rewrite.
For this book style was a major consideration and a major factor from the beginning. When I first started working on it, in 2017 – two full years ago – I was anticipating it being a short story. This is not new for me, and it’s not that odd, in my opinion, because I remember reading that Ernest Hemingway once said that everything he wrote started as a short story. The novels were just short stories that need room to spread out. And that’s what happened with this. It just kept going and getting better. As the characters became more and more fleshed out and as the story line (including the all important backstories of both main characters) I realized that I might actually have something special on my hands.
Which brings us to my final point:
Although I’m not opposed to saying anything about my WIP, I’m smart enough not to say too much. It may end up being nothing special at all. When I finish the first draft and print myself a copy (so that I can red-ink the living daylights out of it, as I always do), it may turn out that I’ve spent three years working on something that I just set aside as a “close-but-no-cigar,” effort. I’ll have a much better feel for its merit as I go through it for the second time. As I said above, that is traditionally when the elevation occurs, and if I am able to elevate the writing even further in my final draft of this book, this could be very special indeed.