Since this is my blog – still haven’t gotten used to it – I guess I’ll talk about the part of the writing process that was most interesting for me this time around… giving birth.
I just finished the first draft of my second novel, INFIRNO. It feels great to have completed another project with such passion. But I guess it’s also bittersweet. When you’re so invested in a story, it’s hard to just put it aside. Infirno is the sequel to my first novel, TWISTIR, so I’ve been with these three main characters for a little over two years now. I think I’m finally beginning to understand why J.K. Rowling was depressed when she finished the Harry Potter series.
Sidenote: As I take a long break before further revising Infirno, I must get Twistir ready for publication. It’s due out next year and has to be in great condition. (For reading, of course.) It took me a long time (years) of screenwriting, and now novel writing to appreciate the re-writing PROCESS. Don’t let anyone sell you on the dream (lies) of getting everything perfect right away, especially on the first try – even on the second or third. EVERY book takes a lot of writing, RE-WRITING, revising, and editing before it’s ready to hit the streets. So for all of my fellow writers out there, my advice is to write, write, write… then leave the writing alone. FOR A WHILE. Trust me, you need this time AND space to “un-marry” everything you’ve done. It’ll make your re-writing, editing, and life a lot easier.
Ok, back to the baby talk. I’m no woman, and I have no children of my own, but finishing a novel, to me, is the closest I’ll probably ever get to childbirth. (not including being there to support my wife)
It’s crazy how different I feel after completing Infirno, versus Twistir. They’re sort of like the kids I don’t have – I love them equally, but different. When I wrote the first draft of Twistir last year, I was like a scared first-time parent… reading all the popular books about parenting, buying the best gadgets, and making extra space around the house by throwing away everything I didn’t use enough. Essentially, I was super extra careful with EVERYTHING. And no matter how annoying I became, every friend was an overly happy enabler. They just smiled and said, “Aw, how cool!” (Thanks guys, lol) Ironically, this parental OCD played well into the psyche of my teenage narrator, Ennis, who can be a very internal and calculated young man, yet he wishes to be more edgy and carefree like the other character, Elias Cruz. There’s a bit of closeted envy there. Nonetheless, I had a great time with Ennis and his journey in the Twistir book. And like a first-time parent, I gave him all of the attention he needed, and then some.
Conversely, Infirno – the brother book – was the inevitable second child and was treated with the same amount of love, but totally different. The environment was more relaxed, for starters. And since his narrator, Elias, has a “react first” attitude, it played into a slightly differently style of writing for me. Overall, he – the book as child – was coming out no matter what I chose to stress about, and I had been through it once before, so the process felt a bit more organic. The story unfolded nicely as the characters did an easier job of communicating on the page. At times, I even felt like I was just some guy who was blessed to write everything down and steal all the credit. The process was downright fun. The only downside was a mild to medium case of postpartum depression as I neared the final chapter.
Yeah, I know it sounds a little weird, but after seeing my sister deliver my niece and nephew, childbirth is the closest life experience I can relate to the finishing of my first two novels. It was painful and prideful, scary but necessary, and in the end made me feel exhausted, excited, sad, and I suppose, complete – for now. I feel like I’ve sort of lived for someone else. It’s hard to nail down all the emotions right now, but it’s like they’ve both been a part of me, just waiting to get out – like they’ve been there all long.
I wonder what writing the third and fourth books in the series will feel like.
Until next time, keep giving birth to your dreams! Even when it hurts. Especially when it hurts.