I have been feverishly writing my new crime novel since Christmas 2015. Despite voluminous, time demanding research needed for the story, both for settings and technical elements, in four short months I produced around forty chapters in excess of 70,000 words. All the while I had the strange feeling that the story was a galloping horse and I, the writer, was running after it, barely holding on to its tail.
My biggest fear was to lose grip of that tail. If I interrupted my furious pace for any reason, would the story run away from me, never to return?
The fear was not unrealistic. In the past I have wasted countless months on short stories that eventually fizzled. Now I am wondering if with the novel, I am about to experience what I fear.
About a month ago I interrupted the project for a research trip to Europe that instigated a major revision of what I have so far written. The story was set in Budapest, Hungary, a city I’ve never visited. My settings were created via Internet research, mostly on Wikipedia and Google (images and street-view), and some Youtube videos. Then I flew to Budapest.
As soon as I boarded the plane I went into a revision mode, reading the story over and re-familiarizing myself with its details, while also line editing. In Budapest I acquired numerous impressions that necessitated scene changes. Since I returned home, I have been revising. I realize that this is essential, yet I regret that I am not producing fresh material.
I have thus ended up with a lengthy hiatus in creative work. Last week, I finally completed the revisions. I was ready to move on with the rest of the story. All the scenes I needed to end Section I – Budapest were in my head. Yet I stalled. I couldn’t seem to make a transition from revision to creation.
OMG! Did I let go of the horse’s tail?
I was held up by a strange inertia that resisted departure from revision. It was a peculiar mind-set, a form of writing block, one that I never encountered before because all my prior revisions occurred after the work was complete, not in mid-stream.
The solution was to force myself onto the blank page and let my fingers dance on the keyboard. This has always been a sure way to re-engage the well within me and begin pouring out fresh stuff.In one week I produced in excess of 8000 words, moving the story along toward a conclusion of Section I.
While I feel blessed that I have no problem with writer’s block, I now also realize that transitioning from revision to creation has its own inherent inertia.
And so the horse keeps galloping on, and yes, I am still firmly gripping its tail. Let’s hope it stays that way.