Thursday, January 28, 2016
I'm having an existential crisis. I'm coming down to the end of my ninth Alafair Tucker novel. I can see the finish line. Every day I come closer to the day that I write "The End". It's been a slog, but that doesn't surprise me. It's usually a slog for me. Sometimes it almost takes more sheer will to sit down and write than I can muster. Almost. I do it anyway. Norman Mailer says, "there is always fear in trying to write a good book ... I’m always a little uneasy when my work comes to me without much effort. It seems better to have to forge the will to write on a given day. I find that on such occasions, if I do succeed in making progress against resistance in myself, the result is often good. As I only discover days or weeks later."
So I keep writing and try not to think about it too much. I observe that sometimes too much thinking gets in the way. If I try too hard to figure it out, I become Hamlet in drag, unable to take action. When I do enjoy myself, when I read what I’ve written and find it good, I have a strange feeling of dislocation, as though the words came from someone else.
So the new book is going right along as expected and I see that the end is near. Until last night. I went to bed late, and as I was drifting off it came to me like a lightning flash in the dark--I should go about it in a totally different way than I have been.
If I had a particular major event happen much earlier in the book, the whole story would be much better. It would make better sense, it would move much faster, it create more suspense. All in all it was an absolutely brilliant and instantaneous insight. I have to do it.
The only problem is that this brilliant alteration calls for a major rewrite. Suddenly the finish line is no longer in sight. Yes, I am excited to pursue the interesting twist that came to me out of the blue, I am also in a Dostoyevskian mood, all dark and Russian. The end is not near.