I have been making slow but steady progress on finding an entry point into the new novel. I had a false start last week but this start feels more solid to me and I think it has promise. Anyway, what I am saying is I think I can go on from here.
This is a tough novel. It it were another Haxan story it would be less difficult to write. I am trying to do something different. I might not be successful but I like the fact I am challenging myself. I think that, more than anything, is what drives me. Fortunately I have no deadline for finishing this book. I can pour all my creative energy and time into it. Well, what time is left over from other writing duties, of course.
I am planning a road trip along the US-Mexico border next spring. A majority of the book takes place there. I spent all morning yesterday plotting out the journey that the characters would take. I don’t plan to follow that exactly, but I want to drive to some points along the way. I always feel if you can do eyeball research it is helpful. It helps me but to be honest another good resource is YouTube.
One thing I can say for this book, it is hard to force myself not to hold back. We are conditioned by culture. I have to watch that because if I do that in this book then I am not being true to how the people were and how they acted in 1869. I would just be skirting the issue. I am not out to perpetuate Hollywood stereotype and cliches with this story. I guess you can view this novel as the anti-John Wayne, the anti-John Ford.
I think there will be elements of romanticism at least insofar as delineation of character, but not romanticism drawn from outdated ideas and popcorn stereotypes. I am making a conscious effort when a Hollywood cliche rears its head I go the other way. To borrow a phrase, I want to take western icons that have burrowed into the American culture behind a barn and kill them with a dull axe. And I want them to suffer.
Meh. Maybe I won’t be successful. But I feel the novel has to be written. I always go with my instinct on these things. It’s all a dangerous phase right now where I am bombarded by the creative energy and maelstrom of ideas and fragmented voices. The difficulty is pulling it all together and integrating it. I am hoping once I get that firm foundation beneath me I can move with more authority and confidence on the novel.
We will see.
But I do not mind admitting it is a stressful time right now. There are so many unknowns at play. Then again, I know from experience all new stories are like that for me. I hope my confidence will last!
I am not even kicking myself over the false start. Writing is organic it is not immutable. I’ve always believed that. The false start was a necessary step in the creative process. I can’t change that.