Tuesday, August 5, 2008

More than Procrastination

I am amazed and surprised that the entire month of July flew by without a single post from me! Okay, maybe I'm not that amazed by no post, but more by how quickly the month passed. And despite the fact that I completely ignored all my raving fans (yes, I'm talking to you two ;), I did not ignore my writing. In fact, I was more inspired than ever in the month of July.

As you might recall, I've set myself a schedule of working 5 hours a week on Madison. This dedicated time has enabled me to get through the final edits of 6 (of 8) chapters (then I can start approaching editors and agents, sell the book, and do this full time!). However, there's nothing like having to work on one book that makes me want to work on the other one more.

I believe this is my form of procrastination. Once I decide upon my current project (in this case, Madison), the other book (Areia) suddenly looks more appealing. I start thinking about Areia while I'm driving. I start getting ideas for Areia edits and Areia 2 while I'm walking through the halls at my 9-5 job. I start thinking of things that need to be researched for Areia despite the fact that there are things that more urgently need to be researched for Madison 2. (I really need more creative names for these books!)

Nor does it help that I don't want to read books in that same genre as the project I'm working on because I don't want other people's works to subtly influence my work. Madison is a contemporary fantasy; Areia is an epic fantasy. So while I'm editing Madison, I try not to read contemporary fantasy (harder than it sounds since that's my current favorite genre), and epic fantasies are a big no-no while I'm working on Areia. And for those of you who might think I'm putting too much thought into this, well, I wish you could read some passages from the earlier drafts of Madison and see the Laurell K. Hamilton/Anita Blake influences (which is ironic since Anita Blake is virtually the antithesis of Madison Fox and Laurell K. Hamilton writes horror/fantasy, not contemporary fantasy).

All of which brings me to my long-winded point: In the beginning of July, I decided to read the next book in Jacqueline Carey's epic fantasy Kushiel series, thinking it was safe since it was an epic fantasy and I was focusing on my contemporary fantasy. For a while, it was safe. The only danger was to the people in my life, who I rather willfully neglected while I immersed myself in the tale.

Then I finished the book.

Now, there's one more book in the series out there on the shelves, prominently displayed and vocally announcing its presence in every bookstore in the area that I've shopped in since. I could buy it and read it and live some more in the world of Terre d'Ange. The temptation is strong--like Jedi mind powers-strong. For those of you who don't know (though I'm sure I must have mentioned it by now), I adore the Kushiel series. In fact, (and I just ran out to my front room where all my bookcases are to verify this) Carey is the only epic fantasy author that I still purchase. I read much more epic fantasy 10 years ago--even 3 years ago--than I do today. Of course, I'll buy the last in the Wheel of Time series when it releases next year, but other than that, all the epic fantasies on my shelves are 3+ years old. Which is all another very long-winded way of saying that I love Carey's writing. I love the world in her Kushiel series. I love the characters. I want to meet them and party with them and go on adventures with them and.... You get the point. When I read her books, I lose track of the real world. Thus, I try to space them out. There's only so much neglect Cody and Mack Fu and Zenzo (not to mention the rest of my family and friends) can take before they get irritated.

So I did the next best thing: I worked on my own epic fantasy.

I didn't stop working on Madison. I just worked on Areia after I'd finished my Madison hours. In the mornings before work, I edited Areia while eating breakfast. When I got home, I'd write out new scenes. After dinner, I'd collapsed into my reclining La-Z-Boy and use the cats' favorite blanket as a fluffy table while I hacked and slashed my way through superfluous character notes-type sections and added character-building descriptions in their place. I ran one pen out of ink and another's close to giving out. I found that while Madison had become work (what I had to do in those 5 hours), Areia had been freed up as a fun, hobby-esque type activity. Madison was a must do, Areia was a get to do.

Alas, my energy ran out near the end of August, but it was a very good run. A few things happened in my work life that burned me out fast, so I went from working on my writing like it was my full-time job, to vacation/recuperation mode. Tomorrow, though, I'm back on the 5-hours-a-week routine. I'm also back here, hopefully doing far more regular posts than, well, none.

p.s. Kate, please forgive my use of hyphens where there should be en dashes! It annoys me too!


Kate said...

Perhaps it's the lack of sleep, but I didn't notice ANY hyphen-vs.-en dash problems! LOL

Anyway, I'm really glad you were so productive on both of your books last month. I like that your Nano project and my own "Nano project" were both nearing their gestation at the same time. :)

Samantha said...
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