Missouri can be unbearable in the summer. Especially last summer—seems like most of the season was a hundred-plus…all I have to do to remember the excruciating heat is to look at this short video, shot a year ago last July, of the scorched conditions in my own backyard:
A project can be hot, too—kind of frenzied, written in a furious, inspired rush. Or (as happens most of the time with me), a project can start a bit quietly, then gain heat as I get to know my protagonist. Usually on about the third or fourth rewrite, I find myself really tearing through a project passionately.
I turned the final copyedits in for THE JUNCTION this summer. After I hit “send,” I found myself missing Auggie, my protagonist, like I’ve never missed another. I first drafted Auggie’s story in ’05, though, and it’s hard to let go of someone you’ve spent so much time with and come to love so much.
I’m now about two weeks into the hard-core revisions of another MG, and the more I write, the clearer this new character and this new voice becomes. Just yesterday, I began to type so fast, I swore I had smoke rolling off the keyboard.
That’s the key, I think, to turning the heat up on your own project—you can’t expect it just to come all on its own, like a gift. You have to make it come…
“Inspiration is for amateurs. The rest of us just show up and get to work.” –artist Chuck Close, on never having “painter’s block.”