Monday, September 24, 2007

The Space In My Head

The creative process can be hard to explain at times, and for me, nothing is trickier than the apple cart that is writing a book. I was reading the comments over on Linda L Richards’ blog, and she said I'm currently working on the second Kitty Pangborn novel and it's taking up most of the space in my head.

I relate to that. When it comes to actually writing a book, I’m not good at multi-tasking. I have friends, such as Ken Bruen, who can write two books at the same time, and stand in awe of the mental discipline that takes. As it is, I get so wrapped up thinking about the book, replaying scenes in my head, thinking over the actions and reactions that sometimes I think I’ve typed out a scenario and I’ve completely forgotten to. I just thought about it so much it seemed so real to me, but I left it off the page.

I’m obsessive, and I know it. The good part of that is it usually takes me about eight weeks to draft a manuscript. The bad part is that I eat, sleep, dream the story, and it’s hell on family life, never mind a social life. I think that’s why, until now, I’ve gone with the story screaming in my head the loudest as the next project. It’s one way of making the voices stop (sounds like I’m completely off my rocker, doesn’t it?) so that I can actually think and process new information.

The big problem with that philosophy is, now I’m actually under contract to work on certain material. I always thought it would be a real boost to motivation, but I’m actually usually pretty self motivated. Now I’m mostly just freaking out about whether or not my editor will like the new book.

In case you haven’t put two and two together, with everything going on with the new deal, and now that I’m in the home stretch on the second book in that deal, I’ve been a bit too distracted to deal with everything for Spinetingler. I expect we’ll have the new issue up around Thanksgiving. Uh, that would be Canadian Thanksgiving.

But don’t panic! Jack Getze had the guest editor gig for the Winter Issue, and the man is already done! Now, for me to do those interviews…

And while I’m working, there are other places to be. Angie has a new In For Questioning podcast live, with Allan Guthrie. I’m hoping he elaborates on the peanut butter and Duane Swierczynski. (Oh, and in a moment of total self-absorption, how cool was it to see a German deal for Duane in the same Publishers Lunch Deluxe weekly as my deal announcement? Very cool.)

Also, The Toronto Star has a write-up on the latest from Linwood Barclay and Peter Robinson.

While we’re on the subject of Peter Robinson, he’ll be at Wordfest this year, so if you’re in the Calgary area you can hear him Wednesday October 10 and Saturday October 13. I’ve never met Peter Robinson, and if I had guts I’d try to link up and interview him, but I’m not sure Wordfest is in the cards this year. (I know some might find it inconceivable, but I hate going to stuff like that alone.)

One last thing. After a discussion about the partially illegible inscription by a Scottish author in a book, I suggested to a friend of mine (who happens to be Scottish) it must have been the whiskey. This led to a discussion about whether I was suggesting Scots drink a lot. My Scottish friend took offense to the suggestion he'd even dare enter a bar.

Seems he always forgets the evidence.

11 comments:

John McF said...

It's great to see Peter Robinson back at Wordfest in Calgary. There's a special thank-you to the staff of Foothills hospital in his novel "Piece of My Heart" (which is terrific, by the way) after what happened last year.

And, congrats again, Sandra, on the official announcement. When will we get a look at the cover?

Sandra Ruttan said...

I'm not sure about the cover, John. I can't wait to see it myself. All I did was make some suggestions. Some books, that's easier than others...

pattinase (abbott) said...

Spinetingler fans will gladly wait for you to catch up. Your own life should take precedence sometimes. Congrats again.

Barbara said...

Eight weeks?!?

If I can get something roughed out in eight months I'm doing well.

Now, in addition to my "what will my editor think?" demon leaning over one shoulder I'll have the "Sandra would be done by now" devil perched on the other :o)

I'd better go get some work done...

Sandra Ruttan said...

Thanks Patti - I appreciate people's patience!

Barbara, yeah, eight weeks for a draft. But it truly does have a price. I used to sleep in my office when I was writing, because I'd get up in the middle of the night and make notes.

I usually have one re-write after that, at some point, but I find after writing a draft I'm too burnt out to be much good to anyone. Now, I've actually gone a bit slower this time. It will have taken me 10 weeks for this draft, and then I have an extra two weeks allotted to read it over and tweak before it goes off. And then I can't wait to read a book by somebody else!

angie said...

While peanut butter is absent from the interview, I do have a bit of info that will be popping up in the 5 big ?'s for Duane...

Happy writing!

Sandra Ruttan said...

Awesome! Can't wait to see what you do to Duane! Er, um, I mean, I'm sure you'll be a complete professional...

Chris said...

I identify a lot with this post, Sandra. I think a big part of why I write is to fill up headspace that would normally be chock full of useless junk like "did I leave the iron on?" (of course not, since I never actually iron) or "did I really just say that?" (sadly, yes). It effectively nullifies my more obsessive tendencies, and (I'd like to think) makes me a little more tolerable to be around as a result. Of course, booze does the same thing, but then, we writers DO tend to drink, don't we?

Eileen said...

Never let them get it on film has long been one of my mottos. Think how much happier Britney would be if she followed this advice.

Anonymous said...

Who is that in the photo?
chel

Sandra Ruttan said...

Chel - that's Russel, he who sleeps on park benches at Harrogate.