This week has been highly productive, although my blog, it must be said, has suffered somewhat. Chapter Two has now claimed my attention fully, my characters coming to life in ways that I could have only hoped for — holding me in those, as it sometimes seems, long ago times of Fuzzy Felts and Mariner 10 space probes. The words and the tone they create are coming quite easily and, with 10,000 words behind me, I’m starting to feel comfortable… settling into the thematic landscape, exploring it and looking forward to the inevitable surprises.
That isn’t to say that it’s all been plain sailing, of course. Chapter Two of any novel can often be difficult. The energy and excitement built up for Chapter One dips a little and, even though the quality of the work may not visibly suffer, self-doubt can (and all too frequently does!) raise its ugly head. This, as I’d half-expected, happened to me this week. It was quite fleeting, and had everything to do with my mood — the inevitable tiredness I was feeling — but I always find it wise to at least try to turn such self-doubt to my advantage.
I did this with the last novel I started (and abandoned) last year. The self-doubt set in and I had to ask myself if it was mood related or if there was something genuinely not right with the work itself. With that novel, there were major problems — not least that I simply found it too bleak and depressing to write well. So I did with that one what I always do with projects that simply aren’t working; I moved away from it and focused on something new. I outlined in more detail and started this current project… knowing that it would inevitably face the same tests, but hoping that better planning and a story that I really felt passionate about would make it capable of withstanding the various trials ahead.
So how did As Morning Shows the Day fair? So far so good. The prose is clean and sparse, none of the heavy-handed exposition I can be prone to when things aren’t going well. The characters seem alive to me, the story hooks in place and the period… yes, it feels like 1974 but I probably need to work on that just a little bit more. More than anything, I look forward to returning there each morning. Yes, it’s work — and, yes, it’s probably going to cause me even more sleepless nights over the next ten months or so. But that’s par for the course. That’s what I expect.
When a novel gives the writer more than it takes — even if it never makes it publication — it’s a success. As Morning Shows the Day so far falls into this category.
I’m enjoying writing every word. Even the ones to keep trying to get away from me.