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[writing|process] Once more with the diving board - Lakeshore
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Jay Lake
Date: 2013-04-03 05:32
Subject: [writing|process] Once more with the diving board
Security: Public
Tags:books, cancer, health, odms, personal, process, writing
I've commented before that for me, writing often feels like jumping off a high diving board and filling the pool on the way down. The more substantial the project, the more I tend to experience this sensation. Which means sometimes there's a pause for breath before I step off the edge into space.

I'd committed to myself to start writing Original Destiny, Manifest Sin this month. That's my Old West alternate history fantasy. So what did I do Monday? Two hours of critique, batting clean-up on the recent Writer's Digest University online workshop in which I participated. What did I do on Tuesday? Spent ninety minutes reading first drafts of some of the stories for METAtropolis 3: Green Space, the audiobook project I am co-editing with [info]kenscholes for Audible.com. Both of these were necessary and timely Writing Related Program Activities which resulted in zero effort being put in on Original Destiny, Manifest Sin.

(In case you're wondering what I did with the rest of my time these past two days, recall that I have a full-time job, a teenager in the house, and late stage metastatic colon cancer. I keep busy.)

So today I am stepping off the board. As almost 100 pages of Original Destiny, Manifest Sin exists from my first, aborted effort to write the book most of a decade ago, I'm going to start by re-reading that. I need the characters and more importantly the setting to reinhabit my head.

One of the real challenges of this novel is that it is driven by plot and setting. There are multiple viewpoints with no strong central protagonist. That undermines opportunities for reader identification and can cause problems with the through-line. I think I know how to resolve this, based on input from Howard Waldrop and Maureen McHugh at Rio Hondo a few years back.

And, well, if I'm ever going to write it, now would be the time. I expect to be seriously ill with cancer treatments again in either June or August, and I don't expect to ever recover from that once I go down that road again. Essentially, unless I get unexpectedly lucky along the way, I have one last time window in which to write this novel. Or any novel.

So once more with the diving board. Today, I jump. Likely no word count today, as reading and making notes will almost certainly occupy as much time as I have available (if not more). Still, I am stepping back into my own personal once upon a time in the West.

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cathschaffstump
User: cathschaffstump
Date: 2013-04-03 12:40 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Happy note taking, Jay.

Catherine
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MG Ellington
User: xjenavivex
Date: 2013-04-03 13:29 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
It's going to be an Olympic dive!

I am so excited you are stepping off. I've been looking forward to reading this one for a very long time. Blame Mark Hoover and his Haxan world. He got me interested in western fantasy fiction. When you started talking about Original Destiny, Manifest Sin I could hardly wait to see how it turned out. I already know I enjoy your work. So I am so selfishly thrilled that you are doing this. Plus I know it is a project that has a special place in your heart!
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Twilight
User: twilight2000
Date: 2013-04-03 14:01 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Can't WAIT to read it :>
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scarlettina
User: scarlettina
Date: 2013-04-03 14:29 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
It's time, Jay. And it's going to be awesome. I look forward to reading it. If you need readers, please think of me.
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User: Jeff P
Date: 2013-04-03 18:51 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I love fantasy western fiction and look forward to this.

Have you ever read "Lonesome Dove"? McMurtry does a wonderful job of using multiple viewpoints within scenes. You never notice the story isn't told mostly from one perspective.
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Leela
User: leela_cat
Date: 2013-04-04 01:51 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
And we await the moment when you come up from the bottom of the pool with a story well-told.

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