We’re three weeks into the summer break and I realize I am not fully divorced from the classroom. Each morning I check my two school email accounts, I’ve read professional blogs, and attended a few video sessions on tools I use. So, maybe, it’s not entirely possible to be fully on break, just the priorities shift.
The novel-in-progress has been an interesting experience. I can’t go into too many details as yet, but I was brought on this early in the year, wrote an expanded outline and sample chapter during Spring Break and continued to develop materials until the school obligations lessened. Finally, during the last week of school, I began writing.
And I kept at it, some days pounding out a lot of words, other times, a far smaller amount. Each day had me do some research to bring certain aspects to life, or at least make things sound plausible.
Researching can be fun but, it can also be a rabbit hole and you lose yourself. For this project, I’ve read enough to fill my needs and have moved on. It’s partly discipline and partly because it suited my needs. There’s only so much I needed to know about the supervolcano in Yellowstone National Park or current theories on quantum entanglements or how Ham Radio currently works. It told me where things are today, so I can project ahead a century or so for the needs of the story.
Last week, I encountered two interest plot dilemmas, one was easily solved, the other required losing most of the planned chapter. And to be frank, my head hurt just contemplating how I was going to write that. Thankfully, the brains behind this, the one who brought me in, agreed with my assessment, admitting he had his qualms, too. With that in mind, I returned to work and somehow, with a burst of activity, I managed to finish the first draft Friday afternoon.
For record keepers, I wrote 80,001 words in 18 days, averaging 4445 words a day. Are they any good? I await my partner’s thoughts on that one.
I have put the manuscript aside for this week and intend to tackle revisions after the July 4 weekend. Instead, as a palette cleanser, I am writing a short story that was commissioned some months ago, and not due until August 15. A few weeks ago, I had no idea what to write and did what I always do when stuck: talk to my wife.
Over dinner one night, while we were vacationing in Cape Charles, VA (well recommended as a short getaway), we batted thoughts around and by the time we finished the entrees, the story came together in broad strokes.
Since then, the story has been working its way in the brain, and over the last few days, it started to come together. Yesterday, I began researching and once again dared to lose myself. This time I was reading about colonization on the solar system’s outer rim, Neptune’s moon Triton, and so on. I also began drafting but last night, as head hit pillow, the climax and resolution presented itself.
I remain utterly fascinated by how the brain works, how ideas take shape, and what’s involved in bringing them to life, especially as it appeals to the historian in me.