Wednesday, February 9, 2011

At Some Point Preparation Must End

I haven't had much to write these last two months due to being busy with one thing or another (or one of six or seven other things).  That's a positive problem, as I see it.

I have a non-fiction book wrapping up this week.  Following that I have another one on deck that's much smaller in scope and should only take forty or fifty hours to write, which means evening and weekend work spread out over a few months if I want to take my time with it, and I do.  Other than spending some time doin' the taxes and finding a way to fit some actual "free" weekends in there somewhere, that's the story of the first half of my 2011, at least as it projects out from here.

Once the second nonfic is done, I'm actually going to take a hard left.  We'll see how this works.  I have decided it is time to finish Space Dudes (working title).  I've been writing (and rewriting, and then scrapping, and restarting, and writing again, and rewriting again) that book since 1999.  Twelve years is enough.  By this time, even Tolkien had finished his worldbuilding.  By this time, Rand had gone from Anthem to The Fountainhead and was halfway to Atlas shrugging.  Come hell or high water, Space Dudes needs to be finished.  I don't know whether it's going to take half a year or two years or five more years or what.  But I need to do it, and it will be published (or rejected) under my real name, not my nonfiction pen name.

I've been studying the craft of fiction in greater depth in these past two years than in the first 34 years of my life and certainly since the first 17 years of the start of my writing "career" at 19 (see links at left).  I think I finally understand enough to roll with it, though of course I am always seeking to learn more every day.  And I think I've finally "broken" my story for Space Dudes.  "Breaking" a story is the writer's term for finally grasping/determining/asserting the essential structure of the narrative that will carry the story from It Was A Dark And Stormy Night to And They Lived Happily Ever After.  And in terms of the craft, I have arrived.  I finally appreciate conflict as the glorious tool it is, and I have finally (I hope) overcome my fear of probing into the uncomfortable, the forbidden, and the unsociable in order to reveal the truth those conventions are used to evade.  I've never been sharper at exploiting tropes.  I'm obnoxious enough to stomp on the boundaries, but humble enough to know I'm better off leaving those boundaries intact and relishing the way they force my creative focus.

Nothing left to do but get on with it.