Whew. Some days I find writing to be a slog, some days it’s as easy as breathing. But to make a confession, writing Pay the Piper was more struggle than it was effortless. I hadn’t anticipated how rough simply reading the news would be when writing a story based on very recent events. I’ve second guessed what I was saying and whether people would hear what I meant or project something entirely different over what I wrote almost every chapter of this story, where it was only a concern now and then in other projects. I also rewrote the ending to the story.
All in all, writing Pay the Piper stretched me in ways I didn’t anticipate and was a bigger effort than I ever anticipated so I’m not planning to tackle a project like it again in the near future. I might find myself pushed that way if I was prouder of the outcome but, while I am satisfied with where I wound up and that the story is complete I’m not sure I could ever make it into a work I’m proud and enthusiastic about. I know every author finds themselves with a few of those, even greats like Dickens, Doyle and Christie, but the point is I went off in a new direction to stretch myself and afterwards I feel sore and not particularly more flexible.
Not that I’m sad I wrote the story. The juncture of social media, soft exclusion and the slow poisoning of our perspectives and minds those factors can have is still very vivid to me, as is the potential for the technological resources we have and are developing to merge with our lives in unexpected and beneficial ways. I’m just not sure I’ve got the knowledge and interests to accurately display that in a near-to-real-world way. I tried my hand at it and, while the result is very rough, it does manage to hit most of the notes I wanted from it.
So what comes next?
As usual, I’ll be taking a week off to decompress, then I’ll invest another four weeks into general essays as I plot and do research for my next project.
Yes, downtime between fiction projects will be much shorter this time around. Partly because I’ve got a less to say on the essay front and partly because I’m very excited to begin on my next project, Martian Scriptures. I felt like my fiction work really hit its stride on this blog during the publication of Schrodinger’s Book and I found that story and its world and characters far more compelling and rich than I’d expected them to be when I started. So I’m glad to have a chance to go back to that story and write its indirect sequel. I hope you’ll enjoy it just as much.