I started working on Samor’s new story in December 2019. It’s been a journey of considerable challenges and delights. Some things have gone very well. Others, hmm, not so much.
Part of my writing process is reflection. I regularly look back at what I’ve accomplished. I think it’s a critical step because writing a book is a difficult journey filled with self-doubt. When your energy is low or your mental defenses are down, abandoning a draft can feel like the only viable option. But take heart! Energy always returns. Defenses are rebuilt! Reminding yourself of your good work will replenish your creative tank.
Here’s a list of ten accomplishments and discoveries of the last twenty months.
1. This is a book that had a title without a story. I’ve finally satisfied the question, “Why is it called the Warlock of Nevermore?”
2. It’s a lot of fun to compare/contrast to Tildy’s character, as well as the style of her book. Does Samor make the same decisions as his sister? Or has his upbringing molded his thoughts in different ways? It’s very much nature vs nurture, and I’ve found it takes my creativity to new levels.
3. It’s also forced me to re-examine aspects of Tildy’s book. I’ve got a couple plot holes that might need filling.
4. An ensemble cast offers different challenges and opportunities than Tildy’s story, which was basically three people. Samor travels with six Humans, two Elves, a Bovitaur, and a young woman whose grandfather might be a demon of the storms.
5. We’ve closely examined the reasons his companions have dedicated themselves to being soldiers.
6. Representation matters. A character with Progeria can be just as compelling and as active a participant as another; Samor’s nonbinary friend needs some fleshing out.
7. Samor still doesn’t have a last name. There are equal considerations for style as marketability. Harry Morgenstauferson and the Sorcerer’s Stone wouldn’t have sold 1/10th as many books. And no one wants to read (or type) that name over and again. We serve more than our selfish writer’s desires.
8. I know who dies, who lies, and who betrays. Which characters and places are simply antagonists and which are villains. The lives and loves of Samor and his companions. There are secondary characters I’ve grown to adore. I literally cry at one character’s fate.
9. I’ve continued the theme that characters in my world believe that storytellers are embellishers and liars. This is among the things that delight me in my writing.
10. A pandemic and contentious political election were outsized distractions to my writing routine.
For me, bringing a book to life requires more than putting words on paper. It takes more than determining what happens between “Once Upon” and “Happily Ever After”. It’s about growth, learning, and satisfaction. If you’re only feeling a sense of accomplishment because you’ve got 118,859 words in your manuscript, and 18,742 in your recycle file, you might find that’s not enough to keep going.
Chances are, you want to write more than one story. A career is a marathon, not a sprint. Take a little time to reflect on what you’re doing well and how you’ve improved as a storyteller. You might just find that it makes the Work more of a pleasure and less of a slog.
Good luck with your writing!
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© Michael Wallevand, August 2021