Saturday, August 3, 2013

Reaching THE END

Scott D. Parker

For those of y’all following my progress this summer as I kickstart my writing back into gear, the last day of July 2013 brought not only the end of the month’s writing but also the completion of my second novel.

Yes! I reached THE END.

Here are the monthly stats for July 2013

  • Minimum threshold: 18,600 (600/day for 31 days) Up from 500 in June
  • Total words: 72,361
  • Difference: 53,761 words above the minimum
  • Average: 2,334/day (I topped 1,000 words for 27 straight days starting 4 July)
  • Best day: 6,108 (21 July)
  • Worst: 864 (2 July)
  • Items worked on: chapters 19-48 of the current book. And Finished!
  • Number of consecutive days writing: 66 (as of Wednesday; 68 as of today)

In the month of July, all 72,361 words went into that novel. Adding to the number I wrote in June (21,254) and the number I started with (approx. 13,000), my final word count is 106,800. It’s bloated because I have not re-read a single page, so the final word count will shrink, but that’s where I stand with draft one. The amount of new words to the book is 93,615.

Here’s another number: 2,556. That is the total number of days since I last wrote THE END on a novel. 1 June 2006 to be exact. That was the date I finished my first book. It now shares space with 31 July 2013. It is a glorious feeling.

As the years dragged on for me as I struggled with completing that sophomore book, I developed a saying: “It has taken me longer NOT to write the second book than it did to write the first.” [BTW, actual writing time for Book 1: 10 months.] Now, since the number of new words I wrote to finish the book (93,615) is basically novel-length, I’m adding a new sentence: “It actually took me LESS time to write my second novel than it did to write my first.” Since I first picked up the novel again on 9 June, I have wrote on it everyday (minus one) for 52 straight days. So, basically, I wrote a book in 52 days.


On Wednesday night, I perused some of my old comp books where I laid out, in pen and ink, all my frustrations over the year, most of that pain seems so distant, but I can still remember it. I can still remember all the struggles, all the anguish.

But something happened this summer. All that stuff from the past few years just sloughed off and, somewhere inside of me, I decided I wanted to finish the book. I set my mind to it, and did it. Timing is everything, and this summer there were two main things that influenced me from the outside. Coincidentally, they both came on the same day. Joelle’s 7 July post, “I am the world’s worst writer,” had a nice list of 5 things writers can use to get to THE END. Two of them really struck home with me at just the right time: #2 and #3. You can read them yourself, but they boil down to this: Don’t show anyone your pages until you have reached THE END; and, like a mantra, keep repeating “I will get to THE END.” It was a great boost. In the comments on that same post, Dana King wrote something so obvious that I never even thought of it: “Writers are often terrible judges of their own work, if only because they are the only person who knows what they wanted the book to be; everyone else takes the book at face value.” Boom! Daylight burst into my eyes and I saw the light. To Joelle and Dana, thanks for the boost.

Speaking of seeing the light, the talent I have is God-given, and I thank Him everyday for it.

So, I have reached the end of my second novel. It was a long time coming, but more the sweeter because of it. On Wednesday morning, I wrote the final two scenes, heart and stomach all a’flutter. It was fantastic. That night, my wife and I started a new celebration: we popped the cork on a bottle of champagne and toasted to the completed novel. There they are up in the picture.

Then, Thursday morning, I did the thing I need to do to prove that this second novel wasn’t a blessed fluke: I started my third.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Watching the Detectives (and the crooks)

By Russel D McLean

Rewatching The Sopranos of late has got me thinking about crime fiction and television. Crime is a great source of drama, and crime shows are among some of the most popular scripted shows that people watch on the box. At their most basic, they are crime of the week shows, at their most complex they become  stories as much about their time and place as they do about providing that vicarious thrill of watching bad things happen without the consequences affecting our lives. Here are my top 10 crime shows and the reasons they work.

10 - Crime Story

This was the show that really introduced the world to ex Chicago cop Dennis Farina. Made in the 80s, it was set in the 60s and faced off Farina's cop against an up and coming mobster first in Chicago and later in Vegas. The first season was stunning, with memorable guest stars (including a young David Caruso, Pam Grier and Miles Davis) and an ending that left the viewer slack jawed. The second season stumbled, but perhaps this was because no one thought they'd be back. Yes, its a little disjointed in an 80's way, but it was one of the first shows to really try and create an arc for its characters and for the most part that first season stands out as a trailblazing template for modern crime dramas.

9 -Life on Mars (UK)

John Simm was the lead, but the star of the show was Philip Glenister as DCI Gene Hunt. A TV show about a modern cop travelling back to the un-PC seventies sounded daft, but somehow everything about this series came together in exactly the right way. It only lasted for two seasons, and that ending resulted in a number of debates about what actually happened, and if the producers had been smart that's the way things would have stayed. Sadly they made a sequel set in the 80s which made Gene the lead and provided a few dissapointingly definitive answers that really negated the power of the original show. But LoM was one of the finest British dramas of its time, and the crime drama aspects of its scripts were rarely less than compelling, drawing great paralells between what Britain was and what it had become.

8 - OZ

 This prison drama was frequently unsettling, massively melodramatic and never less than utterly compelling (although frequently, one would feel the need for a long shower after watching: this was one disturbing show, not for the easily offended). There were no good guys - the best you could find was amorality - and the violence was frequently shocking and unexpected. Adibissi ranks as one of the most memorably terrifying characters of all time, even if his little hat defied the laws of physics. Brave, bold, a show that tried to ask tough questions about the penal system and even if it all got a little surreal (the musical episode was both brilliant and head scratching), and occasionally too focussed on the horrific violence inside a max security pen, there's no denying that it was hugely powerful and often debate provoking television.

7 -Braquo

I love french crime dramas. The ones they make for the movies, anyway. Their TV has been more hit and miss until a little show called Spiral (Engrenages) came along and paved the way for a new way of looking at cop shows. Written by an ex cop, Braquo took the baton offered by Spiral and ran with it. Its a show about corrupt cops, about good people doing bad things, about how power can corrupt. Its a show with a spiky edge to it. And its utterly compelling. If you haven't seen it, seek it out, now. I'm just about to hit season 2 and I can't wait...

6- Homicide

Homicide at number 6? Oh someone's going to lynch me for this. Homicide was a brilliant, brilliant show. But it was interesting how its early grittiness (the first season was based quite closely on David Simon's brilliant Baltimore reportage) gave way to a cleaner cop drama that nevertheless retained its bite with some great central performances. I still think killing John Polito was a mistake, but luckily the show continued to impress with a career defining role for Richard Belzer (his character, John Munch, has now appeared on around a dozen other shows including, bizarrely, Sesame Street) and the constant presence of the brilliant Yahpett Koto as the squad commander. And of course, there was always  A brilliant show, even 

5 - Justified

Based on my favourite Elmore Leonard creations - US Marshall Raylan Givens - Justified had a strong first season that really grabbed me. Mostly it was the cool moments cribbed from Leonard's own writing, but it was also something in Timothy Oliphant's turn as Givens that grabbed me. Then Season 2 came along, turned everything on its head, ensured that this was a drama that was about more than just solving a crime. It became a show about families, about what they mean to us. And it quickly became one of the best goddamn shows I'd seen in a long time. Effortlessly cool, and unexpectedly smart, Justified is absolutely brilliant television.

4 - Spiral

The show that changed French TV for the better is a labarynthe, complex series that owes a huge debt to America's THE WIRE in the way that it mixes procedural machinations with a cynical examination of the justice system in modern Paris. The cops are flawed human beings, the judges are subject to their own failings and the criminals are often far more complex than we might at first assume. Every season works in its own story arc, but threads that you thought long gone soon re-emerge when you least expect them. This is appointment TV at its finest, and crime drama with a brilliant coating of true French cool.

3 - NYPD Blue

This is the one that might get me in trouble as a lot of people do prefer Homicide to Blue. But frankly Blue is the show that really got gritty first. Those first few seasons, where Andy Sipowicz was at his drop down drunk worst were compelling television as Blue presented cops who were every bit as human as the people on the mean streets they patrolled. And while, like Homicide, Blue got more comfortable in its later years, the creators acknowledged this by refocussing the show on Andy Sipowcz's evolution. And any show that can take the lead from early 90s sitcom Saved By The Bell and make him into a credible and - more importantly - a foil for Dennis Franz's powerhouse performance as Sipowicz deserves to be hailed as a classic.

2 - The Sopranos

The two and one slots are interchangeable in my book. The Sopranos is simply one of the greatest character studies ever committed to television. Tony Soprano is more than just a mob boss; he's a barometer of the times. He's all our worst instincts in one empathetic package, and even when he tries to do the right thing, its often in the wrong way. That any show can make us care for not only Tony but his wholly sociopathic crew is a minor miracle. But care we do, so much so that when that final shot aired, you could hear the collective gasps of nations of TV viewers who all took something different and personal from the meaning of those final moments.

1 - The Wire

After the dry run of Homicide and the HBO adaptation of The Corner, David Simons produced this incredible examination of the modern world wrapped up in the guise of a crime show. More than cops and robbers, The Wire was all about the evolution of a city, a microcosm of humanity on a larger scale. It was a show about injustices on small and grand scales. It was about how all our lives are determined by larger forces. It was about how we must recognise injustice to make any kind of chance. And it was about some of the most complex and most completely human cops ever put on television. The Wire was television as novel, and frankly, it reinvigorated the television cop show to remind us of the power of visual storytelling and how it can be as subtle and thought provoking as any straight prose.

For those wondering, there are shows I have missed. The Shield, for example, never really quite worked for me. Mostly down to Vic Mackey, a character who never really evolved over the show (although that may have been the point) and the fact that the show reveled a bit too much in its own over the top approach. I'm not denying its fans, but it never quite held together for me. Law and Order and CSI were all huge shows, but again they never worked for me in the same way that many of these shows did. And yes, I have a US bias, but its the same as in my reading that there's something about the US way with dialogue that always seems to work for me. Its a personal list, so feel free to disagree in the comments or remind me about the great goddamn TV crime shows I may have missed...

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Just Like In The Movies

‘When I thought about it, my most vivid and powerful memories of childhood were in black and white. The monochrome serials that were shown at the Saturday morning Kidz-Klub at the local Odeon Cinema, and the Hollywood films on afternoon television when I was throwing a sickie from school, all seemed so much more vibrant than anything that real life could come up with. And, as you would expect of someone who grew up living more fully in his imagination than in the day-to-day, adulthood proved to be a series of disappointments and non-events.
Nightclubs, for example, were, in my mind, bustling with tough guys in pinstriped suits, wise-cracking cigarettes girls and sultry Femme Fatales belting out torch songs on a Chiaroscuro lit stage. So, when I eventually stumbled into the grim reality – claggy carpets, overflowing toilets, beer-bellied men staggering around a dance floor with leathery, bottle blondes, well, my heart sank like the Titanic.’
 From Gumshoe by Paul D. Brazill.

When the late great Quentin Crisp first arrived in New York – a city he eventually made his home- he immediately fell in love with the place and enthused that it was  ‘just like the movies’- something that could he could never say about Blighty, it seems.

But life rarely is ‘like the movies’ – and so much the worse for life. And also for Albert Finny in Stephen Frears’ smashing film Gumshoe - based on the book by Nevil Shute. Gumshoe is a the story of a slightly cracked bingo caller in the north of England who is in love with Philip Marlowe and Sam Spade and in particular their cinematic incarnations embodied by Humphrey Bogart.

Or there’s the eczema riddled pulp fiction writer in Dennis Potter’s brilliant and nasty The Singing Detective – escaping from painful reality into a delirium where he is the protagonist of his novels. Or Keith Waterhouse’s Billy Liar and his recurring fantasies of  a land known as Ambrosia, which is far and away from him hum-drum life.

And there’s Peter Ord, protagonist of my own Gumshoe. Darren Sant put it best:

‘Following the breakdown of his marriage, in a booze addled flash of inspiration, Peter Ord decides to become a private investigator. However, is Seatown ready for him? More to the point is he ready for the Seatown’s cast of ne’er do wells, gangsters and lunatics? Peter must tackle many challenging cases, including one involving a legless crooner, and when he comes under the radar of local crime lord Jack Martin, has he bitten off more than he can chew? With sidekicks like hack Bryn Laden failure is not an option it’s compulsory.’
If that tickles your fancy, Gumshoe is published by Pulp Metal Fiction and available from Amazon, Amazon UK & Smashwords.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

REAPING with Chris F. Holm

By Steve Weddle

The third book in The Collector Series from Chris F. Holm is out today.

Who Collects the Collectors? 
 Sam Thornton has had many run-ins with his celestial masters, but he’s always been sure of his own actions. However, when he’s tasked with dispatching the mythical Brethren – a group of former Collectors who have cast off their ties to Hell – is he still working on the side of right?

As expected, the latest from Holm is one of my favorite books of the year. I'll chat more about the book itself later, but wanted to share with you some Qs and As with Holm today, the book launches.

More about THE BIG REAP at Goodreads and at Holm's site.

Steve Weddle:
The Sam Thornton series pulls from world history and from religions & and from mythologies. How do you keep all of this straight? How do you decide which bits work? What research do you use? How do you create  this deep, vast world for the series?

Chris F. Holm:
The truth is, I don't keep a series bible or anything. I don't map this stuff out ahead of time. I mostly just wing it, and trust my brain (and CTRL-F) to keep it straight. That said, I kind of think it's like doing improv, where there are sort of rules to how I wing it that keep me in check. Like, when it comes to world-building, I try to leave negative space whenever possible. That way, I'm not painting myself into a corner by tossing out details before they're needed, or contradicting something that's come before. And I never make something up out of whole cloth unless no myth, folk tale, or religious figure exists that would work within the context of what I need. For one, nothing I could come up with is even half as weird. For two, borrowing liberally from established mythologies gives Sam's world texture, and some small sense of verisimilitude.

As far as what research I do, a lot of it -- in the moment, at least -- is simply creative Googling. But I'm also borderline obsessed with classic horror novels, Greek myth, epic poems, cryptozoology, religious Apocrypha, conspiracy theories, urban exploration, and the like, so even my various methods of procrastination becomes accidental research.

The bugs. Honestly, dude. What the heck is with the damn bugs?

The truth? I'm scared shitless of them. Any kind, big or small. Have been since I was little. In fact, the scene from book two in which Sam wakes to find every surface in his hotel room -- including himself -- crawling with bugs was inspired by something that happened to me when I was a kid.

I spent most of my childhood in a log home my dad built, way out in the upstate New York countryside. I was six when we moved in, and in college when my parents sold it, and in that time, I don't think the house was ever truly finished.

One day, I came home from school to discover a plate-sized hole in the drywall above my bed. It led to some ductwork that eventually vented to the roof. To this day, I've no idea what that duct was for, or why it languished unfinished for as long as it did.

Anyways, one night, weeks after the hole showed up, I woke to the sound of rain. I could feel it falling onto my blankets, so I switched on my bedroom light, sure I'd find a roof leak drip-drip-dripping down on me.

It wasn't a roof leak.

It was beetles. Hundreds of them, it seemed to me, but that's probably a gross exaggeration. They were pouring out the hole above me and onto my bed. They were in my blankets. In my hair. I freaked. Woke up the house. My dad patched up the hole the next day, but I still slept with the lights on for a while after.

Having followed Sam Thornton through these three books, we see quite a change in him, not all of it for the good. I’ve described the books as Charlie Huston meets Jim Butcher, and I think the Huston series with Hank Thompson is more and more apt as your books have come along. What’s happening to Sam in this last book? He seems to have come a long way since the opening of the first book.

There are two schools of thought when it comes to writing series characters. Some authors -- the late Robert Parker, for example -- write their characters in a sort of suspended now, so when you read a Spenser novel, you know before you start what you're in for. Others -- Lawrence Block's Scudder novels come to mind -- allow their characters to evolve over time. That makes them less comforting reads, I suppose, but the upside is, the series is richer and more dynamic when taken as a whole. Both are valid approaches, but I'm solidly in the latter camp when it comes to my own fiction. I have no interest in writing the same book twice. If Sam's the same at the end of the tale as he was at the beginning, I feel like that's a sign I picked the wrong story to tell.

When we first meet Sam, he's broken. Friendless. Utterly devoid of hope. Which makes sense, I guess, on account of he's spent sixty years or so of a presumed eternity in hell.

Since then, he's found his place a bit. Made some friends. Begun to hope for something better. Maybe even begun to think that he deserves it. The Sam of THE BIG REAP is more sure of himself than he has been in the past. More comfortable in his role as hell's hitman. And that's not necessarily a good thing. He's still the guy readers know and maybe kinda sorta love, but his new-found confidence makes him a little callous -- a little arrogant. And although he seems aware of that -- even fears that his years in hell's employ have finally begun to erode his sense of what's right -- he's also selfishly relieved not to be so tortured all the time.

That shift in personality was uncomfortable for me to write. I hope it's uncomfortable to read. Because it's important to the story, and with luck, by the end of THE BIG REAP it pays off huge.

His companion, so to speak, along the way has been Lilith. While this isn’t a “love story” in any usual sense, how has their relationship been progressing and, for readers of the first two books, how is it different as this third book opens?

Lilith is Sam's handler -- his sole connection to the hierarchy of hell. She's equal parts jailor, boss, confessor, tormentor, friend, family, and enemy. At the opening of the series, their relationship was playfully antagonistic, but the events of that book dragged it toward deep mistrust and outright hostility. Book two saw Sam pushing Lilith away at every turn -- only to discover that sometimes, she was his staunchest ally. The events of THE BIG REAP that take place in the present reflect this new reality. I think at the outset of the book, they respect each other in a way they never have before, although they're still very wary of one another. Given what comes next, though, perhaps neither is wary enough.

In THE BIG REAP, we get to see Sam on his first mission. From a writer’s perspective, what choices did you make that led you to hold this until the third book in the series?

I've got a low tolerance for origin stories. Sure, they're important to a character, but they're usually the least interesting story about that character. Some big fancy writer dude once wrote what's past is prologue, and origin stories always feel like prologue to me. So I decided if I were to ever tell one, I'd do so only if it served a larger tale.

The first part of Sam's origin story -- his devil's bargain and his death -- was told in flashback throughout DEAD HARVEST, but only because it served to explain how a decent guy wound up condemned to hell. The second part -- his rebirth as a Collector, his first meeting with Lilith, his first soul-snatching assignment -- wasn't germane to that story, nor to THE WRONG GOODBYE, so I didn't tell it. But it's damn important to THE BIG REAP, since much of the focus is on Sam's relationship with Lilith, so I knew I had to work it in.

I know you’ve been reading a great deal of Ian Fleming and John LeCarre lately. I thought LeCarre’s NIGHT MANAGER was such a nice example of a post-Cold War thriller. I’ve recently run across a biography of Christine Granville, the Polish-born English spy of the Second World War. She did about a billion great things, but is probably best known as the inspiration for Fleming’s Vesper Lynd in CASINO ROYALEMy guess is that all of these spy thrillers you’ve been reading had an impact on your writing of THE BIG REAP. Were there things in those books that you just had to work into THE BIG REAP?

I always envisioned the detente between heaven and hell in my books as a Cold War of sorts. Each side quietly chipping away at the other, trying desperately to gain a foothold. The shifting allegiances of players big and small creating ripples that might one day tip the balance. The notion of this secret struggle existing just beneath the surface of our visible world. Spy novels provided me a roadmap for marrying the fantastical with the everyday.

What is it about the old spy thrillers that people still fall for? The characters? The action? Something deeper?

In Fleming's case, I think the appeal lies partly in his structure. He essentially invented the modern thriller. Le Carre's books are more cerebral, which affords the reader the chance to feel all smart and stuff. But in general, I think the appeal of spy novels is that sense you get of, "Siddown -- I'll tell you what's really going on." They feed our hunger for finding meaning in the noise of life. Our innate sense of paranoia. And they turn enormous, abstract concepts like the Cold War or resource scarcity into deeply human struggles.

When I tell people about the Sam Thornton series, they want me to classify it. Is it mystery? Is it historical fiction? I end up saying  that it’s “Urban Fantasy” but I’m not really sure what I’m talking  about. Is it urban fantasy? Please label your artistic creation for me.  On which bookstore shelf will I find it?

I've never been wild about the "urban fantasy" label, because very little of my series actual takes place in an urban environment. But it's become a common shorthand for "gritty contemporary fantasy," and as such, I've made my peace with it.

I used to say I thought my stuff was fantastical noir, and maybe it is, but there's no shelf for that at the bookstore, so it's not much help. Some folks think I'm writing horror, and that's cool too I guess -- but I'd never claim the label myself, because it's only horror if I scare you.

The only label people tag my books with that bugs me is science fiction. I do science at my day job, and I promise you, there ain't a lick of it in the Collector series.

I say stick the books in the fantasy section and call it a day. Or better yet, skirt the issue altogether, and put them on the display table at the front of the store.

Speaking of labels, the Sam Thornton series is published by Angry Robot in the UK, but has nothing to do with robots at all. How did they come to publish the books and how great has it been to work with them?

I wound up with them the usual way. My then-agent shopped DEAD HARVEST around, and they're the ones who bit. I had no idea at the time how lucky I was, because it turns out, they've been fantastic to work with from the get-go. Every step of the process, from covers to marketing, has been incredibly collaborative, which is rare in the publishing world. And they've given me tons of leeway to write the stories I want to write. Time will tell if that was genius on their part or folly.

The third book in the series which is out now, THE BIG REAP, has left me and many, many early readers ready for book four in the series. Any hints as to what happens next?

In book four, Sam will buy a run-down villa in Tuscany and embark on a heartwarming journey of home repair and self-discovery where maybe, just maybe, he'll learn to love again. Or he'll wind up locked in the White House during a terrorist attack, and he'll have to use his Collector-y superpowers to save the day. Or, I don't know, something involving little yellow gibberish-talking minions. People fucking love those things.

SW: Put a recipe in the back, too. I like those.

Thanks to Chris. F. Holm.

Follow him on Twitter.

Buy The Big Reap at your favorite shoppe.

More Holm on DSD here.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Another Reason to Self-Publish by Mike Monson

Today's guest is Mike Monson, who recently published his first story collection. I invited him to DSD to talk a bit about it.


Earlier this month, I self-published a book. While this has not made a dent in my shrinking bank account, so far it has been a wonderful and completely satisfying creative experience.

On July 9, I was fired from my job as a server for a hip gastropub in Kona Hawaii. This was very upsetting and humiliating (read all about it here in my blog How to Get Fired). This event gave me an immediate burning desire to undertake some kind of money-making project that was related to my real passion: writing. I wanted to do something that was uniquely me, something that would be way different from my grossly incompetent performance at the restaurant.

I’ve written 23 stories during the last year, 17 of which have been published online or in print anthologies. Most of these are crime stories set in Modesto and other locations in California’s Central Valley. This gave me a basic theme, I thought. I picked out the story that best reflected that theme, Criminal Love, and made it the title story. I figured I could put them all together somehow into a Word document and then just plug the whole thing into an Amazon program and—boom, instant e-book. I decided to call it Criminal Love and Other Stories: Tales ofLove, Sex, Crime, and Death in California’s Central Valley and Elsewhere. Strangely enough, except for a few minor glitches, it was almost that easy, and I had the book up on Amazon by July 12.

I am not one of those super-sophisticated social media/technology-savvy writers. No way. Yes, I have a website/blog, a Facebook account (just a regular account not a writer page), and, I Tweet. But, I really have no idea what I am doing. I just review books on my blog and post them on FB and Twitter. If I get a story published or get interviewed somewhere, I’ll post a link to that too. I’m always wondering how annoying I am being (it is never a question of whether) and I will often quickly delete self-promoting Facebook posts because I become convinced that, this time, I’ve gone too far and everyone is really going to hate me.
I have no plan, no strategy.

Sure, I’d love to make a living as a writer. I’d love to be able to stop having to work boring awful frustrating jobs. And, I’m doing what I can to that end. I wrote a novella that just may get published soon by an actual small press, and I am in the middle of a full-length novel. So, maybe, I’ll make some real money someday—but probably not. Right? (I know the deal.)

But, I must admit, the main reason I write is to get readers. I want people to read my stuff and then I want them to talk to me and tell me how they liked my fiction. That really, is my main motivation. Knowing that a human has read what I wrote and knowing that they liked it makes me happy. Very happy. And, guess what? As of this moment, 52 people have bought Criminal Love and Other Stories and six of them have posted comments on Amazon—kind, enthusiastic, and complimentary comments. I like this. I like it a lot.

For some reason, those two numbers must be my current sweet spot. Sure, I want more sales (the 52 purchases only earned me $17.49) and I’ll take as many more nice comments as I can get (I realize I may eventually get slammed by someone in a way that ruins my day or week), but, presently, I am very pleased with this self-publishing experience.

Now, if only I could find another job.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Every day is a mountain

by: Joelle Charbonneau

I love my job.  I mean it.  I really love it.  Otherwise, I can't imagine why I'd do it.  I mean, sitting in front of a computer screen pulling my hair out when I don't know what happens next in my story isn't exactly the best way to spent a day.  Some days the words come easier than others.  But no matter how easy or hard it is to find the right words or the correct path for the story, there is one thing that is constant.

Every day of writing is like scaling a mountain.  It doesn't matter that you just climbed a mountain yesterday because this is a new day.  A new mountain.  And if you don't make the climb, you will have to climb two tomorrow.

I always wake up excited to sit down and type.  The mountain never looks all that big from the bottom, but it only takes a few minutes of climbing before I realize that no matter how much I want the climb to be quick and easy it is going to require lots of effort.

Word by word, sentence by sentence I fill paragraphs and pages.  Some days it takes me an hour or two to scale the mountain.  Other days the climb finishes only moments before I go to bed.  No matter how long it takes, I feel energized by the accomplishment.  Pages were filled.  The story moved forward.  I am one mountain closer to The End.  And tomorrow I will wake up and start the climb on a brand new day.

Do you feel like you scale a mountain every day you report for work, or is it only me?  And do you feel the same kind of excitement when you safely go up and over the peak and reach the other side?