Different folks write in different ways. My style is to simply get as many words on paper as quickly as possible, to just rush and run, fingers blurring until with a cry I throw myself away from my desk and stare with deep misgiving and joy at the finished first draft. But it’s an act of faith, this tapping into some wellspring from which the ideas and permutations come from. You run and don’t look back, you race for fear that if you stop, you’ll stop for good. Because what fuels my books is momentum. The moment I slow, stop, begin to dawdle or doubt, it grows stale. It begins to crumble around the edges, the colors lose their vivacity, and before I know it the whole premise will taste like ashes in my mouth.
However. A certain amount of forethought and planning can expand your novel, allow for a more robust and complex construction. Without it, you might end up with a visceral streak of mad haberdashery, but it’s rare that you capture the full potential of what might have been. And this novel, this book, this thing I’m trying to write, well. A look at the art of Dave McKean from my previous post showed me how much more I could be doing. Don’t just take what’s out there and refashion it in mine own image, but explode that shit, cast new monsters and eidolons from the depths of my mind, dredge up old demons and beatify new saints.
So. So I’m going to stop, slow down, muse and ponder. I always write a file in tandem with my novel, a place where I jot down ideas, work my way through plot problems, impasses, dead ends. My file for Crude Sunlight ended up being almost a third as long as the novel. Yeah, I know. But what I’m going to do now is do some active, violent brainstorming. Try to figure out where I want to take this, and how. I’ve been thinking of the Fionavar Tapestry by Guy Gavriel Kay a lot, and I might go back and look at how he did things on a structural level. I’m not sure, I don’t know, I’m leery of slowing down and forever losing my way, but I’m going to risk it. And hopefully, with a small measure of luck and perseverance, the final product will be all the richer and brilliant for it.