Not long ago I watched a lecture with Stephen King at some random university. During the Q&A session, he talked about how he is uninterested in his finished books, they’re old news. What he enjoys about writing is not the end product, it’s the process.
I’m much the same. I love that exciting time when you’re writing the first draft, getting to know and falling in love with your characters. When you get to experience things with them for the first time, it’s such an intense feeling. It’s like I’m standing side by side with these people and sometimes it’s even like I’m apart of them. I feel their deepest heartache, tears, and snot all over my face as I ugly cry together with them. Or those times when I laugh so hard I can’t breathe because the situation we find ourselves in is ridiculous.
There’s a reason I don’t write in cafe’s or in public. I probably look schizophrenic, a million expressions all over my face, mumbling and laughing to myself. Or those moments I unravel a scene in my head and get stuck staring into space for twenty minutes. So, I don’t write in public, because I feel self-conscious that I might be acting weird—which, let’s be honest, I am.
So, I love the process. Not only the writing part but everything around it. The research and all little quirks around it. Finding just the right reference picture for that particular moment or one that captures exactly what you see in a character. It’s exciting and helps me build my world.
The problem is of course that when the first draft is finished, that’s when the real work begins. The story feels finished but isn’t. The characters are set in place, but they still need work. The world is built, but it doesn’t quite make sense, at all. All that’s left is tearing it all back down again. It’s grunt work. This is where stamina and being stubborn becomes necessary; stubborn enough not to say a story is finished when it’s clearly not. When you have to take a breath and start all over, tear down everything you’ve built, and start from scratch.
In the past, this is the place I fail, because by then I’m bored, it’s not about the characters anymore. A friend of mine, once explained it like, I fall so deep into my characters and my world that by the time I come up for air, I just want out. I want it done so I can move on and dive into a cast of new people.
So, this choice I made, to rewrite Kodiak instead of starting a new story from scratch, is also a way for me to challenge myself. To do the work. If I’m serious about wanting to write novels, I have to learn the patience and endurance to work on a story until it’s finished, all of it. I have a feeling I’m going to have many long and loud arguments with myself.
At least it’ll be interesting,
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