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bear by san

March 2017

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rengeek skinhead fortinbras

to you i'm just a novel that you wish you never wrote

The restlessness has hit, though alas the brain has obviously not fully regenerated yet. Which is to say, I really would like to be working--I'm fretful and bored and want to be creating things--but right now I have a first draft of "The Red in the Sky is Our Blood" and a second draft of Seven for a Secret and I have two-thirds of the first draft of Chill written, and they should really all be being worked on... but the inside of my skull is itching in that way that tells me that I need to let them sit and grow a little bit longer, until they present me with the answers to the dilemmas I've built into them.

This is the left-brain/right brain portion of the process.

Right now, what I'm doing ("I" in this case means that portion of my brain, the tippy top of the left neocortex, which thinks of itself as I and uses language and manipulates linear deductive logic) is waiting while all the other bits of my brain--which are also I, but do not think of themselves that way, and do not communicate in the kind of symbols that the portion of me that calls itself I finds congenial and easy to comprehend--sort out how the tricky bit of the story--the part that is currently represented by "And then a miracle occurs"--goes. When they've done that, they'll communicate the answer to me, and I'll sit down and write the last few bits of prose and be amazed at how simple that was, once I thought of it.

Hopefully maybe something back there is working on Chill, too, because I'd like it in the last part of the book grew soon, as I have to (you see) write it. And stuff. Right now, it's really waiting for it to ripen, so I can write something I can be proud of instead of barely-competent hackwork. 

You know, it's true. You can't wait for inspiration to strike. You have to be able to get down there in the trenches and slog through the words even when it's not flying along, because that's part of what being a professional means. But you also need to know when to give yourself a little time and room, to let things cook. Because it's possible to outrun your creativity, and at that point, you just have to wait until the fruit is ripe before you can eat it and not get sick. Sometimes this means setting limits on what the industry will demand from you. And sometimes it means setting limits on what you yourself will demand from you.

And the funny thing is, sometimes one fruit will ripen before another, even though both seem to be getting the same amount of sun. You can never really tell. It's just poking them until they smell right.

In the meantime, though, maybe what I need is a nap. Or a map. Or both.




23. Barth Anderson - The Patrol Saint of Plagues (In progress)
22. Thich Nhat Hanh - The Miracle of Mindfulness
21. Dennis Lehane - Shutter Island
20. Robert K. Ressler and Tom Shachtman - I Have Lived In The Monster
19. Ilona Andrews - Magic Bites
18. Charlaine Harris - Living Dead in Dallas
17. Charlaine Harris - Grave Surprise
16. Caitlin R. Kiernan - Murder of Angels
15. Caitlin R. Kiernan - A is for Alien (ARC)
14. Lilian Jackson Braun - The Cat Who Dropped a Bombshell
13. Jim Butcher - Death Masks
12. Lilian Jackson Braun - The Cat Who had 60 Whiskers
11. Delia Sherman - The Magic Mirror of the Mermaid Queen (in draft)
10. Marie Brennan - Midnight Never Come
9. Elizabeth Moon - The Speed of Dark
8. Alice Hoffman - The Foretelling
7. Douglas, Burgess, Ressler et. al. -- Crime Classification Manual: A standard system for investigating and classifying violent crimes
6. Vincent J. DiMaio and Dominick DiMaio -- Forensic Pathology
5. Liz Williams - The Demon and the City
4. Cory Doctorow - Little Brother (ARC)
3. Warren Ellis & Ben Templesmith - Fell, Volume 1: Feral City
2. Amber Van Dyk - Red Means Go (in draft)
1. Amanda Downum - The Drowning City (in draft)





Walked 4.5 miles this morning, so I am 90.5 miles from Lothlorien.

Comments

Sometimes the problem solving dwarves in the workshop in the back of my brain all putter around and there's this quiet but undifferentiated hum and clatter. I know they're working but not much more than that. And if I go to see, work stops, like the Boss has just showed up at the factory line. Sometimes there are loud scary noises but I have learned just to let them handle it because I'm only in the way.

They almost never burn anything down, really.

Sadly, sometimes they're back there faffing about and taking turns hitting random things with a wrench so I'll think they're working but they're really playing Cripple Mister Onion.
I'm pretty sure that the faffing about is an important part of the problem-solving process.
It is an interesting thing, which I am trying to learn/teach myself/accept.

Sometimes you have to just walk away and let it simmer.
My physics prof shared the following story:

One day he was working on a difficult problem set. He had hit a wall and was making no progress, so acquiesced when a friend invited him to go drinking. He got so hammered he woke up with no recollection of the night before. But on his desk, in very shaky handwriting, was the completed problem set.

I believe the official moral was "start your homework early", but I don't think that's what people took away from it.
Mmmmm, fruit.
Thanks for posting this - this part in particular:

But you also need to know when to give yourself a little time and room, to let things cook

This is what I find hard - amongst the many other hard things about writing - knowing the difference between when to push through and when to let it sit. I just finished a draft and I pushed through; forced my way through to the end (dammit). I just read it back after leaving it for a few days and the last 5k are complete crap. So now I have to rewrite it.

But this time I must let it sit first, because I still don't really know how to end this damn book.
Only read one book this year on your list this year--Little Brother.

Though I have free downloads and dead tree versions rather than an ARC.
I've been hearing about Cory Doctorow from local people on my Brighton New Media network. Strange! Small world... the book is as good as I'm told?
How good a book is depends a great deal on the taste of the reader. *g*

I thought it was quite good, if a little didactic for my taste.
You know, it's true. You can't wait for inspiration to strike. You have to be able to get down there in the trenches and slog through the words even when it's not flying along, because that's part of what being a professional means. But you also need to know when to give yourself a little time and room, to let things cook. Because it's possible to outrun your creativity, and at that point, you just have to wait until the fruit is ripe before you can eat it and not get sick. Sometimes this means setting limits on what the industry will demand from you. And sometimes it means setting limits on what you yourself will demand from you.

That paragraph is absolutely inspired - which is funny given that it has to come from the analysis only left-brain can give. :D Thank you for saying it!
If your restlessness decides to go walkabout and carries you north, there is both good food and moderate (though temporary) distraction to be had here.
Seeing people is counterproductive to the whole creating art thing, for me. Alas.
LOVE this post...thanks for articulating this!! But, how can you tell when the fruit is ripe? Do you thump it, to see if it sounds hollow? Or should the flesh be soft but not squishy, giving to gentle pressure? I think that is the hard part, and alas, as with most other important things in life, it does not come with a manual.
For me, usually when it becomes an obsession and keeps throwing ideas at me. YMMV, of course....