Bringing a Story to Life: The Rhythm of Writing

frtwice

This morning called for a second double shot espresso.

I’m ripping apart a paragraph in Cauldron of the Gods, first in the Dragon Core adventure for the fourth time.

Dragon Core is part of the Metatron’s Universe project.

It’s amazing how many different ways you can arrange a sentence and get the same meaning even as some just sound better than others.

And how many times you can change your mind about what sounds better.

It was while working on this novel that I came to see there is a rhythm to my writing.

It’s been some time since I’ve worked on something totally new.  The Metatron’s Army installments follow one to the next so in many respects it’s like one long novel.

Which is why it’s an Epic.

Soothsayer is connected to Port in a Storm and even though Blue Skye, the next Paranormal Journeys story is separate with new characters, all these novels and others in the queue fall under the P J umbrella.  Cauldron of the Gods– Dragon Core – I’m starting from scratch for the first time in years.

The Ingredients. The concept for Dragon Core, an urban fantasy, took root last fall as I was in the midst of the Metatron’s Army series and pondering what to do with Soothsayer. 

Actually, I was pondering what to do with my writing career.

Intrigued by the concept for this new series I set up a folder and began taking notes and doing research.

As the story has roots in real incidents that took place centuries ago, I quickly saw that research would not only be a big part of the up-front work, it would be a time-consuming part. I needed to factor that in when working out release dates for various projects in the queue.

By the New Year I had all the pieces in place

  • iTunes playlist for the project
  • Photographic images that represent the hero of the story
  • Files containing links to relevant historical data
  • Sample of academic work on relevant subject
  • Solid feel for the story arc that would carry not only Cauldron of the Gods but the follow-on stories in the Dragon Core series

Content I’d done everything I could given I had other priorities – aka other novels to finish and release – I set Cauldron aside and returned to finishing MA and Soothsayer

I trusted that in the ensuing months, as is typical, I would give time to the story while sitting outside observing nature, playing Free Cell and listening to music, or lying awake in the middle of the night.

The Sauce.  I’ve come to see that every book I write has its own pace and style of development.

It had been awhile since I’d worked on something completely new.

Cauldron is spaghetti sauce style.

This means I start at page one and write straight through, getting the main story arc in place, before going back and adding spice – intrigues and subplots – as appropriate.

I coined the spaghetti sauce descriptor  to describe this style of writing early in my career though not every story follows this pattern.

Only the first in the MA series – Advantage– fit that writing style profile.

This style of writing is the most energy intensive because it’s a slower paced style and requires intense focus that can be and often is cyclical.

I alternate rapid free-flowing sessions wherein I’ll get 3 – 6K words in one sitting with methodical and more time-consuming sessions which may yield 2K if I’m lucky.

Another characteristic of this style is the need to go back and reread what I’ve written in the previous session to regain momentum before continuing on.

This style is also cognitively draining relative to the rapid free-flow style that carried most of the Metatron’s Army works.

Free flow is a style where I’m simply the physical go-between for the muse, my fingers typing before I even think what it is I want/need to write.  It’s like being in a trance state, what some refer to as being “in the Zone.”

Understanding the rhythm (or not) has big time repercussions because the variability of the pacing can result in frustration.

It’s been years since I’ve dealt with a spaghetti sauce novel.  I’ve had to repeatedly remind my runaway train of a writing brain to slow down and relax – that it will all come out [right] in the end.

I have no idea at this point when Cauldron of the Gods will be ready for release but I’m enjoying the interesting path it’s taking to get there.

 

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