As you know (or maybe you don’t), my third novel—I Do Solemnly Swear—is completed and scheduled to be released on October 16. Now that I’ve had some time to rest my brain and recharge my battery, it’s time for me to roll up my sleeves, put on my thinking cap, and get down to the business of writing Novel #4. I’ve already loosely outlined the plot, and the basic sequence of events is pretty much laid out. In fact, although I haven’t yet fully developed the characters, most of them are in place. As in the past, the moment I start writing, new ideas foster more new ideas, characters quietly go away, others come to life, and the book moves in a completely different direction.
I don’t know about other authors, but when I start writing a book, it’s as if I’m possessed. I vanish from the face of the Earth and travel to another dimension. I literally live in the book with the make believe characters. They come to life and as the book progresses, I feel a close relationship with all of my characters. Now you might think that this phenomenon is somewhat intriguing, but it’s actually not such a good thing. Sure, living in the book makes me a better writer, and helps me develop a better story and more believable characters, but for five or six months (that’s generally how long it takes me to complete the first draft), I’m almost completely disconnected from the world.
Maybe this is why I haven’t begun to pen book #4. I really should have started it about a month ago. The story is bouncing around in my head like a ping pong ball, yet I haven’t written a word. I wonder if all writers suffer from this affliction.
This disconnection takes its toll on all of my relationships—but nobody suffers more than my wife, Jennifer. It’s almost as if she were a widow during the period of time I’m writing. I’ve tried to overcome this departure from reality, but when I’m finished writing at the end of the day, I’m unable to return to the real world. Consequently, when my wife and I sit down in the evening and she tells me about the events of her day, instead of listening attentively and giving her my undivided attention, she talks and my mind races with new plot ideas.
Frankly, I don’t know why my wife doesn’t gather my clothes and throw them on the front lawn. Maybe it’s because I promised to someday buy her a new Lotus. Or maybe it’s just because she’s a saint. Either way, I’m a lucky guy.