This month we Quills discuss what has been our biggest writing challenge regarding our current work (or works, as there may be more than one) in progress. (Incidentally, you might find this discussion on the difference between the phrases "work in progress" and "work in process," interesting.)
Reasons for delay! Goodness, but there are so many. So, where does one begin?
I thought we might start with comments from P.S. Broaddus, author of A Hero's Curse. That said, I can't imagine what could possibly stand in Parker's way of getting something, anything, done! It's not like he might be busy at home with his wife and three little boys, or that he spends many hours at his full time job ... Right, Parker?
I am currently working on a distinctly different story than anything I've done before. This new novel is not at all related to The Unseen Chronicles, and while I certainly miss Essie Brightsday and the cast of characters we met in A Hero's Curse and Nightrage Rising, I am loving the new setting. Inter-dimensional travel, a mad scientist, two brothers, a detective, a runaway...There is so much to investigate and explore! So many new characters to interact with!
(Follow the link for more.)
Next is Robin Lythgoe, author of As the Crow Flies. Now, I happen to know that Robin has got some things happening in her life these days, but I can't imagine they could stand in the way of her writing. Right, Robin?
My experiences in the novel-writing game are relatively few, but so far, every novel has posed at least one challenge. I’m not talking about the Usual Life Challenge that pops up every time you choose a cool project and Things Happen. Like the furnace goes out, or you get the flu, or you remember at the last minute that a Quills Post is due tomorrow… No, I’m talking about novel-specific snags and pitfalls. Like the Beisyth Web in As the Crow Flies, or the (top secret now) timeline issues in Flesh and Bone. This time, right-this-minute, I find myself surrounded by a virtual cloud of delicate perfume as I ...
(Follow the link for more.)
Ahhh ... so now it's my turn. Well, here goes!
There are so many: (1) ways to stumble; (2) reasons to delay; and (3) opportunities to turn one’s attention elsewhere. It seems in one way or another, all of these things have happened to me as I’ve worked on Volume Four of The Oathtaker Series.
As to my “stumbling,” I spent a year on a work that I am very pleased and proud of. Unfortunately, I feel compelled to wait to publish it until someone I know personally is able to come to grips with my doing so. Because the project put me behind on other things—including my writing Volume Four—I realize that in fact, I didn’t just stumble. In fact, I fell ... as in I fell way behind.
But, finally, I’ve managed to get back up and to concentrate on my new work in progress ...
As to my reasons for delay, I’m sure I needn’t dwell on them. I’m still a practicing attorney by day, and as the economy has (finally!) improved after nearly a decade of stagnancy, things have picked up at the office. As a consequence, it is harder to find down time, and harder yet to use it productively—as opposed to using it to rejuvenate. In addition, like everyone I know, there are other things happening in my personal and family life that take time and attention, causing yet more delay ... Still, I want to, I strive to, put my family first, so this is not a complaint, merely a observation ...
As to opportunities to turn my attention elsewhere, I admit that I’ve been having an unexpectedly good time writing some quick flash fiction stories of late. I never considered myself a short-story writer, but the concept of trying to tell a big story with few words has captured my imagination.
I’ve worked on stories for joint blog posts with my fellow Quills (Her Golden Hair, The Resistance, and Signs, Signs, Everywhere There Are Signs!), as well as on another story in the course of my connecting with two young women interested in writing. (Find my story, Throwback Awakening, and the story of one of these young women at the link). When I talked with these two about flash fiction, they were very excited to give it a try. Since then, not only have I spent time writing with them, but also, I’ve taken my hand to editing their materials, pointing out issues they face, researching specifics to help them to find answers, and so forth. It has all been in an effort to try to speak into their lives and their art—and that takes time. That said, I’ve had so much fun doing it, that it has pulled my attention away from Volume Four.
Finally, in truth, I spent some time waiting for inspiration. I believe it is shaping up now, but the subject matter of Volume Four can be a bit difficult at times. Consequently, it urges me to other ventures. Still, it is a subject worth addressing, and so, I go on . . .
So, there you have them—my main obstacles to writing Volume Four. Notwithstanding them all, it is in the works.
What sorts of delays keep you from getting to your projects?