My wife once asked me what I like about writing. Depending on the day, like today as I struggle with a scene, I’d say not much. To describe writing as frustrating completely understates the feelings you have when you a) can’t think of what to write about, b) can’t remember that great idea you had last night, c) can’t get on the page the emotion you feel about a scene, or d) all of the above, and more I can’t think of right now because, well, writing sucks sometimes.
But what keeps me going are those moments of pure joy. It doesn’t always come with the words on the page—those I usually think inadequate—but from the pleasure of immersing myself in a world of my own making, with people I created. God complex? Probably. Dream job for an introvert? Definitely.
An example of the joy would be reading a first draft of a scene where I’ve pretty much just told what happens. It’s flat. It’s bland. It has no depth. So I open a blank document—maybe one I’ve named Bird by Bird or Writing the Meh—and sort out what I want to happen in the scene, what is the point, where will it lead, etc.
I either find the scene isn’t needed, or, more likely, I find new depths to my character, reveal hidden agendas, internal thoughts and emotions known only to her. If it all comes together, I end up with a scene that makes me sit back as a rush of endorphins, or something, flow through me.
I have a box in front of me. I know what is inside. This is the kind of thing I should film for BookTok but I won’t. Yes, there is nothing like seeing your words in print, on paper, professionally printed and not a Staples printout of Draft 5 that is now scrap for the home printer. I spent 12 years making this story happen. Not entirely. I wrote another novel, many short stories, took a lot of classes, and really only the last two were full on, only this. Some writers put out four books in that time. But for much of that time, I was also working a day job, and the next one is going faster (knock wood).
When I wasn’t working on Endurance (now I get to italicize it!), when I let it sit and “compost” between drafts, I missed that world. I missed Captain Lyn Randall, and Marc and Petra and Dr. Amos and, of course, Diana. I don’t know about other writers, but a good story is hard to let go of. It’s not mine anymore. Readers will see things I didn’t intend, misunderstand what I did intend, love it or hate it or feel meh about it.
Thing is, I wouldn’t want to live in the world of Endurance. I’m not sure I’ll want to live in the world of the next 50 years (or maybe the next two). But in that world, I had control. I knew the fates of everyone, even if some of those fates came as surprises.
I will open this box.
It’s my first time seeing the cover not on a computer screen. I haven’t seen the page count outside of Word or a PDF (or Staples).
There it is.
It’s not as massive as I feared, given the word count. Just 290 pages. The one I’m reading now is over 450. It’s not daunting.
People are paying good money for this. Printing prices are through the roof these days. I think it’s worth it. I hope you do too. (Of course, the ebook is a lot less expensive.)
Fly away Endurance, into the hands of readers. Let me know what you think. Thanks for coming along on this journey!
More about Endurance here.
Endurance is now available:
Bedazzled Ink (with even more links)