20 October 2008

Plowing the Creative Back Forty

I’m writing three books at a time. That’s right. Three.
I’m insane. I’m a glutton for punishment. I’m masochistic. As my grandpa Eldred would say, “I’m working like a rented mule.”
But mostly I’m desperate, because the seeds I sewed in my imagination are ripe and ready to harvest. That creative harvest must be done quickly too, because I know that when these creatively fertile fields dry up I undergo a fallow period where I couldn’t squeak out one single solitary word now matter how hard I try. So when those creatively fertile fields are ripe, I spend my time reaping the harvest, and have learned not to despair too much afterwards when there’s nothing to glean. I use that time for rest, and tend to other projects. Like that cross stitch project I started six months ago. Or baking for Christmas. Or doing the tsa-tsa practice I promised my lama I’d do.

Once upon a time I thought I was something of an anomaly. Even my hero Stephen King only writes one book a time. Granted he writes great whoppers of books whereas mine are fairly short. Okay the great Sai writes one and edits another, but still. I have him beat on productivity if you count that I’m doing three in one blow. He writes 2k a day, every day. I write a minimum of 2k per story, and if my creative juices really start flowing, I can bounce out between 6-8k a day per book. But that doesn’t’ happen quite as often these days. I usually get 6k in a day total.
Of course he just makes a hell of a lot more money than I do. And he’s a better writer and infinitely more successful. But I consider that something to strive for. But I digress.

I went and did something I rarely ever do, I watched the View. I haven’t watched this show since the blow up with Rosie O Donald and the little blonde woman whose name escapes me. Even the new host, Whoopie Goldberg, whom I always liked, did not entice me to watch. I had heard of the odd ditzy moments when the hosts (if that’s what you call them) said some unbelievably stupid things, and that in an of itself was enough for me not to watch again.
I relented when Daneille Steele came on. Not my favorite author, but a successful one. And I’m always interested in what a successful author has to say.
I watched the episode and paid close attention (strangely enough with notepad and pen handy in case she offered pearls of wisdom) to what Danielle had to say. She happily told Whoopie Goldberg that she writes five books at a time. When Whoopie asked her how she managed to do such a mind boggling task, she simply shrugged and said, “I do the same thing a painter does. I move from project to project.”

I’ve been painting and drawing since I was five years old. In fact, I had considered a career as an artist before I settled on writing. So that idea really resonated with me. It has been something I’d done for quite some time; write several projects at once although my husband says I’d stay on task better if I managed just one at a time. But then, I reasoned, what am I supposed to do when one story plays out? Sit and wait for inspiration? Bah. No. I move onto the next project.

Right now I’m writing three novels concurrently. “Love Fiercely,” Is a paranormal romance set in Rapides Parish, Louisiana, at my Caucasian family’s home site of Eldred’s Bend. It has to do with an unhappy mother, an arranged marriage, and a strange but kindly gentleman who comes to stay with them at the plantation house. And of course, knowing me, I can’t leave it at that. The stranger comes with terrifying incidents and a frightening past. And of course the plot is set in an isolated area of Bayou Beauf. It really brings out the paranormal creepiness I totally enjoy writing.

“The One True Thing” Is a novel set on a space port in the 25th Century. I’m having a ball with this story because my ensemble cast are medical examiners working aboard a space port. Camy Lancaster is the chief Medical Examiner who is trying to solve a very puzzling mystery in regards to several miners who have died from a very bizarre disorder. She has to work against time to make sure a plague doesn’t break out on the vast space port. Meanwhile, one for her fellow ME’s, Jerrod is having problems of his own. His fiancĂ©e, Kitra, is undergoing a transformation that will change both their lives in ways they cannot currently imagine. This is the second of the “Mariposa” stories. Mundania Currently has the first story entitled “The Psionic.” I’m hoping that they’ll be popular enough to warrant a series.

The last novel I’m working on is called “Absolute Zero,” a straight science fiction novel set in the present, literally down the road from me and probably one of the scariest stories I’ve written since Mercer’s Bayou.

And like I said, I’m working against time here. I know that eventually, and it usually happens in the dead of winter, that my creative fields will become fallow and it’ll be time to rest.
Sort of anyway. I have other projects to do. Like beading and painting and doing some sculpting work. So I guess you can say that I’m still plowing in creative fields, just different ones.
So how do you sew and tend your creative gardens?
Patricia Snodgrass
Texarkana, TX
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