Magic is so Magical

Originally posted on October 18, 2010 at 5:22 PM

The drive from Denton to College Station is long—almost four hours if you stop once for a break and don’t speed. The last time I made that drive before this weekend, I got home with my entire second novel pretty much conceptualized and plotted out. There’s something about the intimacy of a car ride, especially if you’re driving at night, that promotes conversation and serious thought. If you add a patient and nearly-silent husband who works wonderfully as a sound-board to that mix, for me it leads to planning what I’m going to write.

On our way back home last night, hub-a-dub was snoozing for the first half of the trip, but I still wanted to harness that forced think-time to work out kinks in my current project.

I should know by now that I can’t force magic.

I can beckon it, sure, but it’s a neat trick if I’m able to guide it. I’ve been slowly piecing together the ideas for The Seaman’s Daughter for years now, and it’s never come when I wanted it to or even when I expected it to. It’s a novel born of pure inspiration and seems to be resisting any sort of planning. So instead of being able to smooth out the wrinkles in Book Now, I began mentally writing a really awesome scene in Book Next, which doesn’t even have a title yet. (This is the horror novel I mentioned in my post about Lake City.)

It’s not that I’m complaining, exactly, because I know there are writers out there just praying for new ideas. I know I’m lucky to always be brimming with things I want to write. It’s just that they never come when they’re supposed to. Going back and forth between different projects might seem like a fine way of doing things (and it does make sense—work on what you feel like working on), but it really isn’t logical from a career standpoint.

Getting a book discovered and published takes a long time. If I write Book Now, I can have it in the works as I write Book Next. If I write two Books Whenever, I have to finish them both and then get them started on that long journey. Essentially, writing two books at once could end up delaying my entry to the industry by twice as long. That’s no good. The sooner I can begin calling myself an author instead of a writer, the sooner I can do what I love with no excuses, distractions, or defeats. I’m ready to get going, you know?

But still, if a scene hits me that strongly, I must write it. As much as it pains me to think about, it’s possible that The Seaman’s Daughter might not be willing to be written in a single chunk like my other books. I’m just gonna do my best and trust my gut. I’m off to type the scene I’ve already written in my head.

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