BRINGING A STORY TO LIFE: PAC-MAN STYLE

For me writing really is like being in a Pac Man game where you have to constantly pivot, only in the case of writing it’s the stories not the ghosts I need to react to.

Each one comes about in an entirely unique and different way.

The Day Before which will fall under the Dragon Core series was one of the type to start as an image that, as I viewed it on what Jose Silva calls the mental screen**, begins to tell me a story.

** I call it my mind’s eye.

I’ve had less than a handful start out like that but they all have something in common:  The writer becomes the reader!

Leaving the Zone Is a Hazard.  People have heard the catch phrase about being in the zone but how often have they heard about what it takes to leave it?

Didn’t think so.

I’ve spent the previous several days working early til late to push out several thousand words.  

4 – 6K/day, stopping to deal with real life issues like eating, sleeping, living…

It really is, as it always has been for me, writing while I’m moving in and out of life.

In what Andrew McCarthy said in Weekend at Bernie’s, serpentine style.

If you love something you find the time for it.

It can be difficult to get out of the zone. It isn’t adrenaline that fuels it.

At least not for me.

Having somehow managed to put out 5000 words in a few hours I realized it was time to get out because

  • I was mentally fried
  • My back was seriously starting to ache
  • My legs were seriously starting to ache
  • My stomach was starting to growl

To give perspective, I hadn’t moved for several hours and have had nothing to eat all day, just two espressos.

When I say all day I mean it.  The last meal I had was 22 hours ago.

That’s often how it goes in the zone.

This pace has only happened 2 times in the previous 10 years.

Deciding my back was what needed attention and that it was time to drink more water in light of the latest heat wave I forced myself to do a save, a backup, and a quit.  

But Wait There’s More!  No sooner did I complete the backup when I opened the document again.  You know, to work on later?

It was at this point I came to a funny realization about this type of novel.  It is writing itself in front of my – fingers?  As a result I’m the reader as much as am I the writer and as such, am learning as the seconds tick by.

What this means.  Have you ever been so engrossed in a book you put it down only to pick it up again because you can’t wait to see what happens next?  THAT is what it’s like writing a novel that is actually writing you!

Getting OUT of the Zone.  It takes a lot of energy to get out of that space.  Knowing I was having more trouble than usual since I am getting close to the end of the first draft, I pulled out the big guns:

  • Looked for a recipe for dinner
  • Did a bit of texting
  • Walked to the kitchen and back – twice
  • Fiddled with my smart phone  (How do we know it’s smart?  What’s the IQ score?)
  • Wrote a blog

This last one is a life saver.  My mind if not my soul is still in a place where I need to write.  This way I am addressing that need while focusing on something other than my story.

And so it goes.

As I work to resist starting back up again I resort to my tried and true remedy

Music!

It’ll give me a break til dinner which will give me a break til bed after while I’ll lie awake going through scenarios until I fall asleep.

And if I wake up?  I go back to scenarios until I fall asleep, repeating the cycle til I get up and start a new day – of writing.

Such is life tangoing with the zone.

I have a feeling The Day Before will end up being one of my favorites.

I like where it’s taking the series.

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