making time for character confessions
I wanted a ten day break from the day job to concentrate on drafting six new scenes for The Crusades draft (responding to editorial comments on the draft). I got five days.
I confess getting half the time helped me focus more than I usually would - less time to procrastinate. It did not stop me from spending some of the time doing a fifteen hour round trip from Melbourne to Canberra and back (with a detour through Kangaroo Valley). It would have been even longer had my extra side trip to Jervis Bay not been thwarted.
Hume Highway exhaustion aside, I managed to write three of the six new scenes. I was very happy with the drafts. There's one character in particular whose thoughts, when that character interacts with another specific character, just pour out of me. The character's thoughts become my own for a moment in time and leap onto the page as if the character wants their voice to be heard.
Imagining what a character might say or do when faced with certain situations is one of the most challenging aspects of writing. It is akin to channelling multiple personalities given different characters are motivated by different things. Luckily writing is a solitary past time. It would look very odd to any random passerby to see a writer talking to themselves as they created their prose. My writing comes complete with hand gestures as I try to feel the sounds. It looks very peculiar indeed.
I have five more days in the bank to use later in the month though I feel the momentum is lost with the break between sessions. Some of my best writing has come when I have had no distractions and month long sojourns to dedicate to the craft. The prospect of being able to dedicate all of my time to writing is a long way distant and, sometimes, I am not really sure I would want to be a full time fiction writer. I get a lot of joy out of writing non-fiction during the week. And so, the juggling continues.
The next few months will be the arduous editorial process. While I work on incorporating editorial comments on The Crusades, the sequel to The Penitentiary, the editor is looking at the prequel, The Fall. In six weeks time, I'll have a whole new batch of comments to consider. The merry-go-round will continue back and forth for several more iterations before we reach the end-product ready for publication. Long road ahead.
I will be taking a break from writing instalments in The Panopticon series when the prequel and sequel reach the public domain early next year. There is a concept for a fourth book, The Helotry, prepared. I just do not want to write it for a little while. The project planned for my break from my characters will be a collection of short stories. A whole fresh set of characters to fill my head with new worlds and journeys.