The weird world of the fiction writer.
It’s 6 AM my Sheltie rest at my feet under the desk. Two hummingbirds buzz around the feeders. I must refill them later today. Occasionally they fly in and out the open windows of my office. Down by the apple tree a doe is munching on the grass. The possum I disturbed when I came to my office at five is probably asleep by now. Deep in the woods bard owls call ‘who cooks for you’. They will find each other soon, their greeting sounding like a couple of monkeys. The stream down the hill is flowing calmly now. The torrent of last week’s rain gone, replaced by a gentle murmur. The music of the water falling over the log mixes with the songs of birds. The sky lightens in the east, feathery mist rising from the fields. Within an hour, the sun will steam its way to a temperature in the 90s. The world is waking up.
Yet I hear and see none of it. I’m deep in the writing of my most recent book. I’m involved in a shootout, police chase, murder, abduction or investigation. I’ve been at it awhile with still months to go before the book is completed. The writing is going well, but it’s the first draft. When it if completed it will be sent to the publisher corrected- the last thing I want is errors- a cover created and then sent to the distributors. When it’s finished, I will start again with another book. And it’s been this way for over 25 years. Thus is the life of a fiction writer.
Around eight I’ll come back to the real world shut down my computer and go have breakfast with my wife. Afterwards, I will complete any task that needs to be taken care of around the house. Later in the day, I’ll return to the pages of the story.
Do I feel guilty? Sometimes. How can you ask your readers to spend their money for what you would gladly do for free.
Fiction writers are a little strange. We can be deep in the story living in another place experiencing heartaches joys, triumphs bringing the hero or villain to existence. Then we step away from the computer and live a normal life. The next day or hour, we are back in the world only we are aware of. However, the story is always there haunting us, invading our thoughts at times even our dreams. It can hold us captive for months or years. Yet it is not an unpleasant experience. We may seem distracted at times, our thoughts far from the conversation at hand. Our eyes in some distant place, far from where our feet are planted. If you say something, we may ask you to repeat it. We’re not trying to be rude or disrespectful. It isn’t because we didn’t hear you, but the voices of our characters drowned you out. If they walked through the door, we would not be surprised. Our characters have become as real to us as any member of our family.
As we write, we may weep, laugh or smile. If the writing is going well, we become lost in the story and the outside world fades away. Some may believe a book is not a book until it’s published. However, I believe it begins to live the minute you type or write out the first word.