Sometimes the hardest thing to do is to take your own advice. Part of my job as an author on the convention circuit means I am constantly asked for writing advice. Sometimes, people want help figuring out how to develop characters, how to plot out a novel, or just what my general writing process is like. A lot of times though, people come to writing panels because they’re suffering a bigger problem, such as the dreaded writer’s block.
Some people –cough cough- Matt –cough cough- don’t believe in writer’s block. In fact, Matt’s gone so far as to call it writer’s laze, saying that people just aren’t focusing enough on their work, etc. etc. I don’t buy into this at all.
I’ve struggled with writer’s block in the past in some pretty severe ways. The Tourniquet Reprisal was challenging for me to write, not just because of my busy personal schedule at the time, but because I was struggling with the direction we were taking with the series. Looking back, there are lots of things I would have liked to do differently with my contributions to the novel. That said, this view stems from where I am now, years removed from the project and after having completed a degree that trained me to analyze fiction. The old adage, that you are your own worst critic, holds true for me I think, and it is entirely to Matt’s credit as ‘show runner’ for Reprisal that it turned out so well despite my struggles with it.
Given the hardships I had with Reprisal, I faced a daunting task heading into Exodus of Angels. I very much wanted to redeem myself for what I viewed as a failure to my partner. I dropped the ball; as I said in the last blog, I wasn’t prioritizing my creative endeavors the way I wanted to due to the workload I was dealing with. Exodus presented me with my turn to be show runner though, which meant I needed bring my A game.
I went into Exodus excited. The plot had mostly been hammered out since Matt and I first sat down to discuss Infinity. I knew what I wanted to do, I felt I had some really strong characters, and I felt that the plot was exciting and hearkened back to some of the aspects of Infinity that were missing in Reprisal. Talking it out with Matt, both of us were pretty excited to start in on writing. Thematically, we were hoping to tackle some pretty big issues that we were really excited to bring to the series.
Matt, as the writing powerhouse he is (you guys have seen how many Black Womb/Xander Drew books he’s got out, right?), hammered out the majority of his portion of the novel fairly quickly. I have to say, it is honestly one of the most emotionally mature pieces I think he has written, and I am so proud of what he accomplished with it. His success with the ‘B’ plot of the novel didn’t translate to my success with the ‘A’ or ‘C’ plots though.
The first few scenes came out easily, but my writer’s block from The Tourniquet Reprisal was sticking around like a stubborn cold. Something wasn’t adding up for me, and I wasn’t sure what it was.
I didn’t think it was my new character. I had been so excited to write her for so long, and my idea of her was so concrete that it felt very natural to translate her experiences. She was a fully formed person in my mind, and seemed to have a life of her own that could carry an interesting story.