Saturday, April 16, 2011

When the Thrill is Gone....

    You're excited about the book rolling around in your brain. (For me it's more like a bag of rocks in a dryer on HIGH) Notes everywhere, an outline maybe fills the pages of a spiral notebook. Compelling images of characters and their plight, or, hero escapades  play and replay in your mind. [You've done your research so some expert doesn't call you an idiot when the book comes out.] Finally, the moment comes when you sit down to begin composing your breakout novel, the book that will make you a household name and put an Escalade in the driveway.
You are inspired and thrilled to be a writer.
You wonder if it will be good enough as you slog through the sentences, paragraphs and pages, but you press on. The family, in the next room, is listening to Wheel of Fortune. They have no idea what the agony of artistic endeavor does to a future bestselling author such as yourself. But, in their ignorance, you love them anyway.
Your drifting. Back to the writing Einstein.....
Are you adding the elements the writing books and blogs and author vids you've read and watched tell you to? Have you practiced enough? Is this book practice? WHAT?
Commas. Dear God, watch the commas, and SHOW Don't Tell!
Make sure you ratchet up the tension like Donald Maass says in his great books on writing fire and creating breakout novels.
Right. Got it.
Modifiers, verbs and adverbs. Ok, I was absent that day.....
AND you don't want the story to appear too amateurish so you read aloud and look for rhythm, or rather LISTEN for rhythm. Gotta have rhythm....Side margins, double spacing, oh yeah.
Do I need cover art with some good looking young guy with killer abs and a haircut like the singer from Def Leopard, on the cover? Sure. Even if it's a story about redoing the driveway? Absolutely.

Bio. ( for the back cover)
 Can I use a photo of myself just after I woke up or do I need one that makes me look like an accountant with a "edge"? How about the one I took awhile back, you know, with a hip three day growth and pissed off look? Works for me....

Moving right along.

Occasionally, as you labor at the really noisy keyboard you peek through the grungy blinds to see if the news crews are stationing themselves in your yard yet, in anticipation of the book of the decade. Nope. Not yet. But they will.....
Hour after hour, day after day you write, and write, and write. You try not to go back and revise the previous chapters, but you do sometimes. Some mornings you dread sitting down at the computer, you just don't feel the "mojo" and no one will notice anyway, right? Yes, right.
Sometimes you wonder if you'll pull this off, if you have what it takes, then you read a runaway bestseller and think to yourself: Yeah, HELL NO..... 
Not knowing what else to do you plow forward through rain and sleet and hail and snow. (cue the soundtrack from the film Exodus please....someone...)
As the words and chapters pile up, you sneak a look by reading what you've written thus far and realize this novel is taking form, shape. A story, a really good one is unfolding from your finger tips.
Suddenly one day you understand. You get it. Yes, it's work, maybe even hard labor. But something now pulls you forward. Something else.
Someone from the living room yells; "Watermelon Festival in Iowa!" in answer to a "phrase" puzzle on WOF. Pat Sajak, in the background, almost sounds as if he's even interested in his own show.
You smile and refocus.
Forged in the furnace of fire you are.
When your daughters psychotic kitten leaps onto the keyboard erasing 3 hours of work in an instant and then you twist your knee trying to catch the little rationally discuss the matter.
Yes grasshoppa......Forged like iron you will be.

True, the initial thrill is gone....but it has been replaced by a steel will and confidence borne of determination, a new and better kind of thrill. The willingness to do the "work" is something you now are a partaker of.
For love of the game....or craft....or why you do it.  Not the thrill. Not the thrills that you once did it for, anyway. They are now gone. You don't even look in the rear-view anymore. Your lazer gaze is now fixed on the writers road, ahead to the horizon. You grit your teeth and smash the gas pedal.
The awareness that you may be way to theatrical crosses the mental field of vision like a rabbit darting across the interstate, but you dismiss it, allowing yourself a little useless drama and paying no attention to the puffs of fur coming from under the back end of the car as you zoom onward.
Amused, you sculpt the novel of your dreams, word by word and page by page.
The thrill isn't smile knowingly.....

You know where to find me....