I have been working on Lycanthrope over the last few days. I am at 66,000 words and I would like to bring it up to just over 80,000. So, I am far from finished. Nonetheless, I have been toying with some ideas for the cover. Let me know what you think about each style. Which is more powerful? Which gets the idea of a werewolf story across the best? Which represents best a combination of all the incredibly strong emotions and challenges a werewolf must face in the modern world?
I am still working on Shadows and Stars, but it is around 157,000 words and I am slogging my way through it a few sentences at a time, trying to ensure that everything holds together well and that there are minimal plot holes and things that are not explained or logical. Shadows and Stars is definitely the most complex of the two works as it has three plots going at once and each must link in spots with the other two.
Because of this slow-going, I am going to try to finish Lycanthrope first, so I can start looking for an agent and a publisher. I need to get all these stories going. I actually have about four novels in the works, each of which I have worked on a little at a time as the ideas pop into my head. Those moments are the best, when everything flows. But when the ideas don’t flow, I cannot say that I am miserable, but it is easy for me to become apathetic and to let the work slide. Then I look back on all the time I have wasted with considerable regret.
I try different things to get the ideas rolling again. The best seems to be to just sit down and start typing or writing by hand. Although I can type fast and get more down in a short amount of time, I prefer to write out material in longhand. I am just more emotionally invested somehow and I may be able to visualize things better.
To this point, I have not worked with an outline on anything. However, my wife pesters me to use an outline, and I am going to have to give in. The stories are being too complex to keep all the details in my head, like I can with a short story. An outline may also help me generate ideas by enabling me to see how everything works together. I have tried this occasionally for Shadows and Stars, but it becomes overwhelmingly complex quickly.
Last night, I was struggling to get ideas for Lycanthrope. I even walked outside around 9:00 p.m. to the middle of the stretch of remote two-lane road in front of my house and walked up and down the centerline, listening to the owls and coyotes while gazing at the stars and the occasional meteor on a comfortably warm, clear night. There is no traffic out here at night. I could have set up a table and chairs on the centerline and had my own star party with food and drinks and I would not have seen a car until past dawn.
I did manage to make a little progress by writing down Peter’s (the protagonist) thoughts and feelings about (not surprisingly) the night sky and the sounds of the night around him as he stood out on the highway in front of his house (or maybe it was in his yard–I will have to review my notes). This is a technique I have used before and it seems to work well. But I went to bed before typing it all up, and, consequently, I lost the ideas I had that I didn’t type up. I will try again though. Probably tonight. Writing in the stream of consciousness does seem to help. Sometimes it’s a matter of getting the emotions flowing out of the right hemisphere of my brain rather than being lost/trapped in the logical, left-side, to which I have a natural tendency. Sometimes, a balance between the two just doesn’t seem to work. In those instances, I get too little out of each. It’s like tap water. Turn on the hot and cold to equal proportions and you get lukewarm water, but sometimes you need the hot turned up as far as it will go while at others you want the cold on at full force. I do have a tinge of Taoism to my personal philosophy and usually believe it is best to have everything in balance, but then sometimes you need the world to be out of balance. Sometimes out of balance is best. Like is said in Ecclesiastes: “for everything there is a season”.
Anyway, I need to go now that it has stopped pouring rain and take this opportunity to walk the dog and get supper quickly so that I can get back to writing. I wonder where I will end up tonight, maybe back on the highway centerline trying to decide which way to go with my writing and my life.