Letting go

This isn’t my first attempt at writing Darklight Rest. There’s something about this story that is tempting, intriguing, compelling, and then there’s a big, huge, overwhelming part that’s incredibly hard to grasp. I’ve been on pure Muse territory lately, and it’s like feeling my way forward through the dark, hands outstretched, with no idea where I’ll end up. Most of the times, I’ll find a wall. Change direction, start over, another wall. Sometimes a tiny corridor I can just about squeeze through but by God, the light in those corridors! If this story weren’t so tantalizing, I would have abandoned it half a dozen times by now…

But Mariany’s voices comes through so clearly. When the writing goes well, I don’t have to think at all. It’s like channeling what’s already happening elsewhere, I just need to type it in and later take out the typos. I love writing when it happens in this way. Trouble is, I hardly seem able to write any other way anymore.

It’s a lot to do with my recent changes in lifestyle, I suppose. The past two years have been a rocky journey towards removing from my life as much as possible of what’s bad, boring, heavy, dishonest, not worth my time. Seems my Muse is coming along for the ride, with the result that I’m getting better writing, but also a lot less of it. It takes longer to find the right way, and I don’t have a process for it yet. I guess that’s fine. Life changes, writing changes. And I’m having many more of those brilliant-writing moments than I used to.

I get impatient, though. I want to know the story of these two women who meet in a place without memory. Why are they here? Who were they before they came? Why does one of them die? Yes, I get told this on page one, second paragraph, but my Muse is holding off the revelations for later. It’s like reading a book, not knowing the ending until I write it (I think I’d hate to know the ending in advance, because if I did, what would be the point writing it?). It just takes such time, and I’m usually a fast reader.

Every time I encounter writer’s block, if I want to call it that, there are lessons to be learned from it. I think this time around, the lesson is patience. Letting go, trusting the Muse. It’s true, I have been bad at trusting her for some time now, and yet she’s never let me down. The more I succeed in letting go, the more the words just come to me. It’s just that nowadays, we all get taught so much on how to succeed, how to perform, how to work hard, and you hardly get through any book, course or blog on writing without it telling you that writing is hard work and if you’re just in it for the fun, go find yourself a different hobby. Sad, isn’t it? Because it’s those fun bits I enjoy so much, and since I’ve started looking after myself more, I get plenty of them. But it seems my Muse also demands her resting periods.

You know what, have them. I know we’ll meet when we’re both ready for it.

The 2nd fifth

Writing has been good lately. Great, actually. I’m writing daily and usually getting at least 1,000 words, which I’m putting down to working less so there’s just more energy left for creative work. Teaching children is immensely creative, but it’s also draining. This school year, there’s just more room for stories in my head. 🙂

Darklight Rest is progressing well. I’m in that lovely place of a novel that is after the beginning (which usually consists of a lot of finding my way, my voice, the direction of the story) and the dreaded dragging middle (where I lose my way completely and have no idea what I wanted with this story in the first place). So roughly the second fifth of a new project always flies — characters keep popping up, the setting grows as I need it, witty dialogues and unexpected rules jump up from all directions. I’m enjoying this part of the writing. I sit down every evening and get words almost immediately. Varyan, who was intended to be a side character, is taking much of the stage and being surprisingly loud-mouthed. Not the way I imagined him, but I’m going to let him play for now and see what he’s planning.

I’m starting to like Liya a lot. She has a bit of spine that I want to bring out more, and she says what’s on her mind. She’s still succumbing to Darklight Rest, but I there’s not much she can do at this point.

Mariany, on the other hand, hasn’t made an appearance at all yet, although she was meant to be the second main character. I’m not worried, though. The more backstory and subplot I have, the better. Last time I tried getting this story right, it came out too thin. When there’s too much, I can always cut later. (I cut LOTS out of Naheli, leaving only the bare, stark bones of the real story in the end.)

I’m not sure, however, that this is still going to be the story I’d originally intended. That’s fine, too. My Muse usually comes up with something better during the process, even if that means ditching ALL of my plans, and 99% of my first draft writing. I write fast, so I can shoulder that time loss. The first draft always seems to be like just writing down what the story is really meant to be — what I honestly wanted to tell, beyond all the things that I thought I wanted to tell. It’s pure creativity.

Also, NaNoWriMo is around the corner! It’s my eleventh year, and my third go at Darklight Rest. I have a good feeling this time around, though. I’ll get it done this year. The characters are coming out too strongly to go back into hiding after this.

Finally: I’m celebrating my very first subscriber to my mailing list and three reviews for Naheli’s Sacrifice. 🙂  Moving very slowly here, but steadily. That’s always been the way I work, taking longer time than others to get going, but then staying on the path until I hit my goal. Doesn’t matter if it takes decades; I plan to be around and writing for a while yet!

Goodbye, Naheli.

Writing has been good today again. Haven’t been feeling too well otherwise (maybe it’s the strange weather), but the Muse is awake. And she’s happily throwing plans out the window (see previous post).

Meanwhile, I am trying to get my cover for Naheli set up. I haven’t even completely decided on a title yet. My favourite all this time was The Fourth Rule, but it seems Tree of Glass is more popular with my testing writing partners. I also like Naheli’s Sacrifice, which is really what it is all about. But I need to make a decision soon because once I have the manuscript back from my editor, I won’t be able to wait, I think. I’m only weeks away from my very first publication, and I’m impatient now. It’s amazing, seeing it all come together. I’ve worked on this story for a total of four years… and just found my very first notes while cleaning out my wardrobe. It’s funny, seeing the first ideas that sparked this novel. They have little to do with the final product, but that’s the way I’ve always worked. Of course I had time travel planned for the original version. And other dimensions. Oh, and dark-light angels. And shapeshifters. And three groups of religious fanatic on the mainland. … It’s probably a good thing I managed to stick to one storyline in the end.

I’m missing Naheli. When I had finished my final self-edit, I actually grieved for a few days. It was like losing a friend, someone who has accompanied me for a long time. Maybe that’s what stopped me from really getting Naheli out there for so long. Once I do, her story is set in stone, and we won’t be rewriting anymore. Still, it’s time now. I need to take this next step.

Onward to Arrianha. She also has a story that needs to be told.

Best writing song right now: Nova by VNV Nation.