Here’s something I do as an author: I think. A lot. About pretty much everything in regards to writing any length of work. Admittedly, the shorter the work, the less I have to think about it unless it is something in a very, very specific format or is on something I am not super familiar with.
Right now, I’m thinking about my next YA Shadowrun novella, The Kilimanjaro Run. It is the fourth in the series (even though each novella is standalone, there is a throughput line). It’s taken me weeks to figure out what POV this novella should be written in. Partly because I’m not familiar with the physical location where the novella will be taking place. Partly because I couldn’t decide who would be the best point of view character. That difficulty has come down to not having the confidence/experience to write the story from the POV character I would like to write it from. Thus, after much internal debate (and my editor’s approval), I will write it from the POV character I am most comfortable with, and the one the readers would be most likely to forgive should I muck things up. I have already hired a sensitivity reader. Hopefully, that will help with the not-mucking-up part of things.
In the meantime, I’m thinking…about the story…about the characters…about specific scenes. Basically, thinking about everything I’m going to write. I haven’t written much yet. Art notes for the cover (talk about putting the cart before the horse). An nascent outline. Character names with 1-3 lines of background. Facts about hippopotamuses and Tanzania. The first paragraph in the story (which I’m sure I’m going to toss out and start over, but it’s easy to start with a brief edit than to stare at the tyranny of the blank page). Probably about 600 words in total.
What does thinking about writing look like? For me, it looks like playing PokemonGO, cleaning my house, folding laundry, or doing some other bit of busy work that keeps most of me occupied while my creative part churns. I’m making inspired butter out of creative cream (or is that creative butter out of inspired cream?). Today, thinking looks like updating every single one of my apple devices because I bought more music for the first time in forever. It also looks like processing author bios for my anthology 99 Fleeting Fantasies. And eating lunch. And staring off into space, occasionally having an argument with myself or with the characters in my head. Not to mention writing this blog post.
While it doesn’t look like much, it is hard work. It is mentally taxing. It can be physically tiring. But it’s not the “sexy” part of writing. It’s not really a thing you can show without being stereotypical—and what you “show” is what writer’s block looks like. It’s funny how a writer thinking looks like writer’s block to someone who doesn’t write. It shows the fundamental disconnect between the writer and the reader.
The best way I can describe an author thinking to a reader who is not a writer is an earworm. An earworm of the literary kind in the best, most distracting, way. You don’t know the complete tune, nor do you know all the words, but it is enticing. You know it. But you don’t really know it, yet. You will…but only after it is on the page and has been edited a half a dozen times. Then you will know what the song/story really was all along.
So, that’s what and how I’m doing. What about you?
Mena being adorable in the cat tower.