You have no idea how badly I want to be done with To Kill the Goddess.
And I'm close. So frakking close!
But there's still work to do.
I started working on the public beta draft of To Kill the Goddess shortly after the new year. I was feeling good. I had two solid drafts of Witness It (my new novella) completed and I was ready to kick some ass and take some names.
“This should be a breeze,” I thought. “I shouldn't need more than a day or two of fine editing per chapter and the whole thing should be done in a month or so.” And for the most part, I'm on track. I'm cruising through chapters, one after another, and then…
You see, here's my problem: my thought process is really methodical. That's great when we're talking about down and dirty low level sentence structure changes and that sort of thing. It's demanding work, but it's also kind of like climbing a steep hill; you just need to keep putting one foot in front of the other. Unfortunately, all that methodical logic only takes you so far. What do you do when the path disappears? What do you do when you come across a comment as vague and troubling as, “the argument these two characters is having feels wrong.”
Speaking very broadly, there are three basic tools that are writer needs. The first is to think logically. For example, event or action A leads to B, leads to C. The second is creative inspiration, coming up with those great ideas and twists that make for an engaging story. The third is the ability to blend the two, or maybe more appropriately, to develop the ability to sense which tool to employ at any given point in time.
My first impulse is to tackle a problem with logic. I want to reason my way out of everything. When I see “the argument between these two characters feels wrong” I immediately start looking within the argument to fix it, or to the section immediately preceding it, and when that fails I get frustrated. Part of the reason for that frustration is that I just want to be done with this book, but the greater and more important reason is that now I'm out of my comfort zone. Logic has failed me and I need to turn to that other tool, to creativity. I need a burst of inspiration to pull me out of the hole I've dug for myself.
Those situations are always a challenge for me because I have to go against my nature. I can't tackle the problem head-on. I have to free my thoughts from that rational part of my mind that wants to grab hold of and fix everything. I have to set aside expectation and want.
Because sometimes there is no straight path to the top of the hill. Because sometimes you have to let go and be … a little dangerous.