Well the water from the cleft rock phase has passed

Mar 16, 2004

Well the water from the cleft rock phase has passed, and I’m back to the doldrums. Why? Because I forgot my own advice. Remember when I say don’t research extensively before you’ve got a finished manuscript. Well, I forgot that. I mean this is my seventeenth book, or so. I have the disipline to do a little research than get back into the book. I won’t loose momentum this late in the book. I’m on a roll. Famous last words.
Admittedly I needed some of the gun research. It’s always good to see what’s new, and as Anita has started doing more hardcore gun work, ammo is a problem. It used to be, I believed we’d never need more than one extra clip but it’s been a hard year, or two for Anita. So I looked at ways to carry more ammo. All good stuff to know, but then I ended up spending way too much time looking at gun stuff. I realized I need to talk to some of my experts now that I know exactly what questions I need to ask. I even thought about making appointments for doing just that. But, the book is not finished. I could spend a week on the gun and tacticle research alone. But not until the book is done. Never until the book is done, because you’ll destroy your momentum. As I’ve done.
I’ll be okay, but that I could go from twenty pages a day to none, just because I stopped and got distracted by more research than I needed at that moment, shows how hazardous it can be. Yes, I will have to go out and see some of the new gun products before the final draft of this book is put to bed. Yes, I will need to talk to my experts before then, but now, now all it is, is loosing my way. Going, ooh, shiny.
Don’t let yourself get distracted, or it could mean the difference between finishing that first novel and never finishing it. A cautionary tale for all you out there trying to do this magic trick for the first time.
I know there are professional writers who do research as they write. I do some research before I sit down to write, but once the writing starts, only checking quick facts is allowed. If it’s not quick, it has to wait. Which means that in the chapter I got stuck in, I had to put the cap-lock on and just say, EQUIPMENT SCENE HERE. I’m going to have to handle as much of the guns and accesories as I can, before I can truly decide what Anita is using. We’ve really needed more shotguns in her arsenal for a while. I just haven’t had the time to do the hands-on. Well, when the first draft is complete, and before it comes back from New York for the first looksie, I’ll go do that hands-on, or as much as possible. Some weaponary I either don’t have, or don’t want access to. I mean the grenade launcher that is about the size of a compact shotgun is way cool, but I don’t think I really want to shoot one off. I’ll have to think about that one, but then I doubt we’ll be using it this book. It sounds more the kind of thing Edward gives Anita, or has himself, that she’s just amazed at. I was.
See, see, the extra research I did, isn’t useless. It may all turn out to be very useful, but it stopped me dead in the water on this book, and that’s got to be the highest priority right now. So, I’ve left my blank space, and when it’s all done, I’ll do my extra research and fill in the blanks. I don’t leave many blanks anymore, but there’s nothing wrong with them either. Maybe someday I’ll just accept that it’s the way I work, and not keep trying to believe I don’t have to do it that way this time. Yeah, actually, I do. It’s the way that works for me.
I was listening to Evanescence, and rolling along. Now, I’m back to THE MUSIC MAN, the new one with Matthew Broderick. Because, I’m picking my way again. I have faith that it’ll pick up, but until it does, I’ll listen to a musical and cheer myself along. At least I’m not back to Christmas music. Bye for now.