Let It Rest

You take the steak off the grill. Oh, can you smell that? The char entices, and you know it’s the perfect doneness.

But don’t cut into it! Not yet! You need to let it rest.

Resting meat is absolutely necessary. Cut into that delicious meal too soon, and all the juices will run out. All your work will be reduced from sublime to… passable? Maybe?

Last week I wrote that I’d completed the rough draft for a new novel. My rough drafts always need a major revision. I need to tighten up scenes, themes, all sorts of things. (I also think one of the minor dragon characters may have changed gender halfway through the novel… I should probably check on that, unless I feel like introducing a wrinkle into dragon physiology.)

So why not just dive into it right away?

Because when you create something, you need to let it rest.

You need to approach your creation with fresh eyes. Does this scene work? What about this character arc? If you come too soon, you’ll be too close to catch many of the issues. Some will certainly be apparent, but others simply won’t be.

I do the same thing with short stories. I’ll complete a draft, and rather than going through it again immediately, I’ll set it aside for a day or two. I need to! But a novel is a longer, more involving beast, so it needs longer to rest.

Of course, letting a novel rest doesn’t mean the writer should do nothing. I’ve been cleaning up some short stories and figuring out my writing schedule for the summer. By concentrating on other stories, I’m forcing my mind to step aside from the novel for a bit.

I’m hoping to start in on the revision next week, but we’ll see. I may wait another week before tackling it. Either way, it’s rested.

And soon… soon I’ll be able to dig in!

It’s Done

At the end 2020, I set a goal to write two novels in 2021. As of yesterday, I’m halfway there. Now, to be clear, I finished the rough draft. That means I have at least one revision before getting it to my developmental editor/ wife, and then at least one revision after that based on her notes, and then a proofread after that. There’s no publishing contract or anything like that.

That said, the raw act of creation is finished. Now it’s time to refine.

I wrote an average of just over two thousand words a day over thirty-eight days. That’s a fair amount of words. I know authors that push out a lot more in a day, but I also know a number that create far fewer words. I’m pretty content with that output, particularly since it’s Lent.

See, I’m a pastor in my day job, and the time between Ash Wednesday (February 17 this year) and Easter (April 4 this year) are literally twice as busy as normal. I purposely decided to attempt writing the rough draft in Lent, figuring that if I could write a rough draft then, well, I could probably write a rough draft anytime!

Now, how did I do it? How could I write so much, create so much, in such a busy time?

Continue reading “It’s Done”

Old-Time Books

This may surprise some of you, but I like books.

A lot.

There’s just something about holding a book as an artifact, whether it’s a pocket paperback or a massive hardcover tome, that brings my mind to different worlds, different journeys. And if like me, you like books, that means it’s good to support the authors of the journeys you most enjoy.

One of the best ways I’ve found to do that is to hang around Kickstarter. You certainly don’t have to support authors that way. Many authors have patreons these days. You can write reviews encouraging other people to read their works. Read their books. Buy them for yourself and some friends. All good!

Continue reading “Old-Time Books”