So, yeah. I’ve started my next novel.
The excitement is there, of course—the thrill of diving in after months spent filling the pool (also known as researching and outlining).
My brain is a bubbling stew of snatches of dialogue and fragmented descriptions and unlucky corpses and colorful secondary characters, each gleefully awaiting his/her chance to steal the show.
My inner eye sees Brainwave in its entirety—the sharp twist … just here. And here, a coy revelation.
The gradual unraveling of mystery.
I feel the story hang there, ripe and ready to be told.
Then there’s that delicious moment when my fingers rest on the home row, waiting for me to choose the opening sentence and send them flying.
God knows I love this. I really do.
If only starting a new novel were all sweetness and light and enthusiasm run amok, right? But just when it seems my euphoria will carry me where I so badly want to go, reality rears its ugly head.
I stare into the face of another two years’ begging time to write. Forty-five minutes before work in the morning. An hour or so after. God willing, an entire afternoon on the occasional weekend.
And suddenly, I’m lead-footed, almost too tired to start.
Maybe I should wait until I retire. What’s two years, more or less?
I might still be stalled, if I hadn’t decided to read the final chapter of Bradbury’s Zen in the Art of Writing.
“Let the world burn through you,” said Ray. “Throw the prism light, white hot, on paper.”
I thought about that.
Then I said, “Houston, we have ignition.”