Be brave enough to make your own monsters

"Let us go forth, the tellers of tales, and sieze whatever prey the heart longs for, and have no fear." - W. B. Yeats, The Celtic Twilight


Today, I wrote ENDS on my Very Bad Draft of the current book in progress. Let me assure you it is a very bad draft - it is going immediately (well, immediately post-typing) into revisions, and not to my agent, or to my beta readers, or to anyone. It needs a lot of work.


But there is actually a beginning, a middle, and and end, and they are all in approximately the right places. I don't know how many words there are (see above, re: typing, and how it hasn't happened yet), but my guess is there will be about twice as many when it is done done. I underwrite on my zero drafts.


It was a weird writing experience for me. It's loosely set in a time and place I'm relatively familiar with (England, the late 16th century, which I know some things about due to having specialized in English literature from 1350-1650 for my doctorate), but still required an awful lot of research. And the research was varied - the random grab from the pile of books closest to the desk brought up Grimoires: A History of Magic Books by Owen Davies, and From Eternity to Here: The Quest for the Ultimate Theory of Time by Sean Carroll. And oddly, most of the research won't go in until the revision - I just needed to have the thoughts there, in the back of my brain, as I wrote.


It's an alt-history, which means actual people show up. Sometimes, they even behave like their counterparts in our history. But sometimes events - and people - got broken apart and put back together for the sake of story. 


Story got broken apart and put back together - or at least bandaged over - for the sake of story a great deal, too. Whenever I didn't know what happened next, I wrote the worst possible set of circumstances. No one gets out unscathed. Not even the person writing it.


I decided to write this book for a lot of reasons, many of which I'm not quite ready to talk about yet, but one of which was that I didn't think I could do it. But I wanted to try something big and unwieldy, something that would push me out of my comfort zone, and keep me there the entire time I was writing it. Some days, writing like that sucked - I could hear the wind whistling past my ears as I plummeted. But I am proud of this draft, as monstrous and as ugly as it is. And I'm proud of myself for writing it.