As you may or may not know I’m currently working on the novel Beyond the Southerly Weepers, the story of a man and his family as they navigate the often tremulous waters of a post apocalyptic dystopian-future set in my home state of California. The story follows Thompson a man who must come to terms with his strange cybernetic-self, a part of himself he has avoided, in order to find the strength to face the abounding dangers. The first leg of my story was one of flight and introspection, but I’ve reached the point where most of the cards are on the table plain for everyone to see, and what comes next is action.
This is daunting.
My second action-packed chapter was read to NCN two Mondays ago, and for the most part it went over well. So What am I worried about? Well how I imagine the thrill ride to come is something akin to a Mission Impossible, or maybe even this latest Hobbit movie, and while this style of action seems to have worked for the space of a chapter I’ll be the first to admit that it might get tiresome for the space of, say, a hundred pages. I could be wrong, but that’s the worry.
Part of me knows that since this is the first draft (one that I have been working on for three years now) I shouldn’t be worried. It’s not my job to have all the answers in the first draft, that part comes later. The experience should be like a sculptor’s or maybe a painters.
What I start with as a base won’t be my final product, but I’ll find the right way through many brushstrokes and perhaps an acquired taste for subtlety and delicacy. Meaning editing and rewriting are in my future whether I want it or not. Believe me I’m aware of that.
The problem is I’m invested.
I want this story to work so badly. I love my characters, both my heroes and my villains. I especially love my world and the Gawth more than anything. They deserve a tale that celebrates them all, and I drive myself crazy trying to just envision it.
waiting for my Monday to read, and agonizing over the time not spent writing in-between are probably things all writers and storytellers have experienced, but knowing that doesn’t really ease my anxieties. There’s too much on the line for me, too much at stake, and the project itself seems to have become a part of my identity. Thompson and me have come a long way, and I mean to see him through to the end.
Daunting doesn’t scare me, it can’t. Everything in life can be daunting, but you can’t let that fear hold you back. You will fail, there will be setbacks, and things won’t turn out the way you’d hoped… but in writing Fantasy and science fiction we tend to be big believers in “the journey,” and the same can be said about life, and the same too can be said about the act of writing itself.
Writing is a journey worth living with.