Tuesday, July 08, 2008

It's Always Something

After many weeks of negotiating back and forth on some issues in the proposed contract I received from Kensington, yesterday I signed a final version. It wasn't easy and at one point I feared the whole thing might fall apart. But compromises were made on both sides and the end result is a product I think everyone can live with. Yahoo!

I've been hard at work on the next book in the series, tentatively titled, A GUT REACTION, and it's so exciting to be at this stage of the process. I had a pretty thorough outline done already so now it's simply a matter of fleshing it all out. The beginning is my favorite part of every project because it's such an adventure. I've never been one to feel daunted by all the work ahead of me. Instead I get revved up knowing the possibilities are endless, the end is nowhere in sight, and exciting things could be waiting for me around every corner. I've cranked out 40 + pages so far, rough pages mind you, but with each day's writing I go back to the start, read and edit what I've done before, and take off from there. When I get to fifty pages or so, I'll stop going all the way back to the beginning each time and edit the last few chapters instead.

My least favorite part of it all is that middle of the book slump. I start to feel like I've been working on this book forever and now the fact that the end is nowhere in sight depresses me. I always manage to muddle through it, but it's this part of the process when I find it hardest to motivate myself.

Then I get to the last quarter and suddenly it's all fun again. I love resolution, tying up loose ends, and bringing everything together. The end is in sight; that carrot is so close I can smell it. And I swear I type twice as fast during this phase because I can't wait to finish things up, to print the whole thing out, look at it with pride and realize, "Holy crap, I wrote that."

And then I throw it all aside and celebrate having a life again. After a few weeks I go back to the work, read it with a supposedly fresher eye, and begin the process of serious editing. This is the part where I look at the finished product with shame and realize, "Holy crap, I wrote that?" This is the part where I begin to doubt my abilities as a writer. This is the part where I talk to myself a lot, muttering things like, "What the hell was I thinking there?" and "Who's going to believe that?" and "Thank goodness I found that blooper before the readers did." This is the part where I slap myself upside the head a lot.

Finally I reach the nail-biting, nerve-wracking, self-doubting, "I know I'm just a hack," phase, where I have to turn my efforts over to someone else to judge. I vacillate between confident optimism and resigned pessimism for a few days, then I shrug and move on to my next project. There's nothing like the start of a new adventure to put everything in perspective and remind myself of why I love to write.