I’d hoped to be done with the first draft of Sins of the Father in time to make my next blog-post a celebration of finally finishing it. I haven’t quite made it there yet, but boy am I ever getting close.
I started work on this project on July 27th (I just checked the date of the first e-mail that I sent to myself containing the file). That makes it almost 60 days that I have been relentlessly combing my mind for every hint of inspiration and then immediately dumping it down to the virtual page.
Quite frankly, I’m exhausted.
It won’t be long before Sins is officially my longest work, even including the revisions that added upwards of 10,000 additional words to Legacy between the end of its first draft and the final, published version. It’s also my most ambitious work, with multiple plot threads and character POVs, a generally omniscient narrator, and a (relatively) faithful expansion of a short story that I wrote almost two years ago.
Beyond the status update, though, I’ve been thinking a lot about why I torture myself this way. If I manage to get this work revised and published before 12/31/12, I will have written and released two novels and a novelette inside of 2012. (I began work on Legacy in February.) That’s pretty darn good, if I do say so myself.
So why am I putting myself through this? Partly, it’s because I really enjoy writing these stories. Discovering these characters and their stories is sometimes painstaking, but other times deeply profound. I just finished a scene in Sins where two characters meet after not speaking for twenty years, and writing it was striking. It felt as though I uncovered something of my soul in the process of describing the feelings of this character, an insight into loss and hope and hatred and love that could only ever have come from my personal experiences in life.
And here’s the thing – it was a totally incidental scene, from the POV of a minor character. I had no idea that it was going to happen ahead of time… at least, not like that.
I think that’s why writing is so exhausting. It requires an investment of so much self, so much figurative blood and sweat and DNA that when you write a scene like that, by the end of it it’s like you’ve just sprinted 500 yards.
Every writer probably already knows all of this, of course – after all, they’ve been through it too! Still, it feels like something that bears repeating.
Man… this is hard.
Next update in (hopefully!!) less than a week, when I can finally drag myself across the finish line, collapse in a wrecked heap, panting, my fingertips cracked and bleeding and my eyes rolling up into my head as I gasp: “I did it…”