Friday 28 June 2019
Guest Blog - My Writing Process - Michael J Moore
When a dark cloud seems to stalk me wherever I go, when magical thinking sets in almost to the point of schizophrenia, when a streak of bad luck attacks--one unfortunate event after another, when socializing becomes a burden and I begin to long for the life of a recluse, that's when I know it's time to write. A story has found its way into that dark place in my inner being that welcomes them, and begun to stir, begging to be set free.
So I retreat. Not just into my quiet room, but into myself to find this pest. There's no plotting involved. I know some people prefer to use an outline, but that's not the way it works for me. I have one chance to get it out, and if it's not right the first time, it's very unlikely that I'll get another shot. I sit at my desk, or even the head of my bed, with a Bic pen (black ink) and a pad of paper, or maybe with my tablet, and I get to work.
Sometimes I have an idea as to what I'm writing about. Sometimes I don't. The story knows, though. That, I can trust, and before the first chapter is completed--usually a few hours later--I always do too. Soon the plot begins to develop. Not on paper, but in my mind. I dare not speak it out loud, though. Like I said, it can only come out once.
For the next one to three months, I become entrenched in my book. Every second that I'm not writing, I'm thinking about the story, wondering what's going to happen next. By this time, I usually have a pretty good guess, but I might be wrong. At least half the time I am. It's a period of bliss that I imagine can only be understood by somebody who's spent a similar amount of time doing what they love. Still, near the end, a new restlessness begins to set in. A stirring just as bothersome as the initial inspiration. A desire to finish.
That means it's time to slow down. If I don't, I'll end up rushing the most important part. The part that the entire story has been leading up to. Every bit of tension that's been built to this point, must be released just right. It has to be gratifying and come with emotional payoff for anybody, who will someday invest his or her time into reading the book.
Lastly, the ending, almost as tricky as the climax because it's still tempting to rush. Even though the story's over, and the conflict's been resolved, I could still blow it if I'm not careful. For me, ending a book is equally exciting, yet much more difficult than beginning one. Once it's right, I put it away and fall asleep with a smile on my face. The next day, I wake up perfectly sane, perfectly happy. Satisfied. I read a book or two, then get to work on something else. Maybe a short story. Maybe promotion for a previous project.
I don't look at my manuscript again for at least a month, when I can approach it with a fresh perspective. Then comes revisions and the next draft. Once I believe it's polished enough, I share it with my partner and see what she thinks. Then submissions, because now that the story's been set free, it wants to be shared. Life goes on from this point, but never for long before another one finds its way in.
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