The Larger Image

I've been working on a new series, and the first novel is nearly finished. This series, which has no title at the moment, has been a process for a year or so now, working out the story line and character development.

Over-looking Geneva, Switzerland from France, 2015
When I explain it takes me a month to write a novel, I typically mean the sitting down at the computer to write. I don't usually mean the pre-writing/planning stages or the post-writing/editing stages. When both of those are factored in, the novels normally take at least a year to write.

Like a panoramic shot of a location, we often need to pull back and look at the bigger picture to see all the steps, especially during those times when we're in the midst of the process. Sometimes writing the books feels like it will never end; other times it's a series of false starts. Still more often, it is simply putting one word after another onto the page.

I have a series I started almost ten years ago, yet it's only been in the past six months I could write the first two novels in the series, If you were to see the first ideas of the series, and the current incarnation, there would be very little similarities to the two. In fact, the concept of the original story line remains unwritten, and will probably become a spin-off of the current series. In the original story, I created a family and a world which intrigued me enough to keep coming back to it. Every time I re-examined the story, I found a different aspect until the world was formed fully enough to create the current story.

This is a common occurrence in art - the gradual chipping away at an idea. We have elements we work at on a daily basis - those things we know we can finish in a short time; there are also items which we work at on a daily basis, knowing it will take more than a day, week or month to finish. Most of us have both in our lives simply because we must.

It may appear things will never turn out right - the novel will never be finished; you'll never be published; your great work of art will never see the light of day, but take heart and keep at it. The steps leading to this location are as important as crossing the finish line. Sometimes, we have to take detours, and they can lead us to magnificent views as well.


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