In The Wee, Small Hours of the Morning

This past weekend, we saw the removal of old light fixtures and refrigerator, the installment of new versions, other maintenance on our family abode, and welcomed friends-who-are-family from out of state (with juvenile canine, which was a huge plus) so this, again, was not the most writerly weekend, in terms of productivity. Since the only way to get these books written and on their way to readers, is to actually write/revise/submit/publish them, that means butt in chair and fingers on keyboard.

Normally, I like to write in the morning. I am a morning person. Eyes open, feet on floor, caffeine, breakfast, personal maintenance, and let’s go. This doesn’t always work out, in practice. Our family includes two other adults, and one feline, all who come complete with their own needs, schedules, preferences, and habits. All of us have to occupy the same space, often at the same time, so, often, there needs to be a plan B.

This Monday, I shot N a quick email, asking if we could look at some alternative schedules for the week. We’d agreed, last week, to up our goals to two scenes each for critique, and I was having issues with getting one up to snuff. Could we meet later in the week, maybe? Possibly meet twice, so we’d both have time to get the second scene ready? As it turned out, that was not viable, so we agreed on one scene, regular meeting time.

Ulp. This meant burning some midnight oil. In the critique group I’d attended for double digit years, back in the old country, I was known as the only person who had something to read every single time, no matter what. It wasn’t always on the same WIP, and it wasn’t always top of the line, but it always was. My current critique partnership is smaller, only myself and N, but I want to hold on to that title, so there would be pages, by any means necessary.

In this case, any means necessary meant that my butt remained in the chair until three in the morning. The scene wasn’t complete-complete, but I did get it to the point where I could blend it with the one that came after, and, I hoped, eliminate the need for a filler scene I didn’t want to bumble my way through. This is what happens on a second draft for me; dialogue from Scene C really belongs in Scene B, and it should come from Character Y instead of Character X, so that means Scene D is not going to work anymore, and we, instead, get Scene D.2. The jeweler who didn’t even have a name in the original draft of the scene is nowhere to be found, but that’s because Character Z showed up, doing the nameless jeweler’s job, and I kind of want to see him again.

There’s something different about writing in the wee small hours, when the rest of the two-legs in the house are sound asleep. Skye seems to approve of me burning the midnight oil. No choices needed over which human she wants to shadow, as the others are abed, and I am the only one doing interesting things. If I’m listening to quieter music as I work, I can take out my earbud (desktop earbuds are now singular earbud; will fix that soon) and we can listen together, without waking the house.

When I gave N this week’s pages, I told her most of them were written in the middle of the night. She said I should keep it up, as it seems to be working. Huh wuh? I’d worked on last week’s pages in the wee, small hours as well, which I had forgotten, or at least pushed away from conscious thought. N may be on to something. If the middle of the night is where I can get more writing time, then I want to take it. This may be one of the things I find out while doing the left foot, right foot thing through this whole writing process journey.

Like my mother used to tell me, “the more you do, the more you’ll want to do.” Since I was a kid when she told me that, of course I thought she was full of, um, stuff, and merely wanted a few minutes of peace (which, to be fair, she probably did,) but, as an adult, I am more inclined to believe she is right. The creative muscle, like any other muscle, gets stronger with exercise. The more times I can write, the more I can write, and then I get to jabber about fun things like book releases and cover reveals and all that good stuff.

First, though, comes the less glamorous part. First comes the late nights of squinting at the screen, refilling my travel mug full of ice water, and using the walk to the cat food dish as my chance to figure out what would happen if I moved this dialogue from one scene to another, and turned one of the extras into a supporting player.


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