Should I stay or should I go?

I have two projects going at once. I have this novel in rewrite that I have been working off and on for many years now. I’m rewriting some very old first draft stuff and it is taking forever. I feel that I have just lost the spark for it but I have so much time and emotion invested in this book that I can’t quit now. This is a non-genre book, the protagonist is a successful cartoonist who returns to the small town where he grew up after his son is killed in a car accident. I’ve kept the prose very sparse and direct, trying to keep it as close to the bone as possible. Now I am doubting myself with so many issues in this book that I find myself just mired every time I try to re-write.

While participating in an Artists Way group, I would journal (they call it Morning Pages) every day. The originator of Artists Way said she did this for several months while sitting at a desk that faced a mountain landscape. She said one day in her journal a man walked down off the mountain in her journal and a new novel began. So about four weeks into daily morning pages I thought about this idea and had a man riding down a mountain on horseback. I described the man, and then wrote that a wolf trotted beside him. They reach a ridge that looks down over a valley and the man reins the horse to stop and looks down at the wolf. “Call your brothers.” And the wolf begins to howl.

Now I’ve got approximately ten pages of notes on the magic system, technology, gods, religion, terrain, characters, races, and names of twenty some chapters. A world is being built and remarkably fast. I decided immediately that instead of a medieval setting (way too much research to get off the ground) I would invent a world similar to the American West post-Civil War (guns are fun) and being I grew up in the West, less research needed. Now I’ve got a cavalry regiment stationed on the edge of the frontier, magicians are a part of the regiment, and the tribes are uniting to sweep them all away. And now the old gods are returning with ideas of their own…

The question is, can I do it? Coming up with ideas is far easier than the real drudgery of writing. Plus to do fantasy properly these days, you need at least three books in a series. What I have right now could easily spread to that size of a saga but is it in me to write this? I am not a young man and I do not work quickly. Can I write this series and see it through? Or is this a project that will fill all of my spare time and end up abandoned? And what do I do with my current novel? My writing time is limited and I work slower now than I used to. I have to think this out and figure out what I can honestly do.

About jeroljohnson

I guess I'm the crying on the inside kind of clown
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2 Responses to Should I stay or should I go?

  1. Anonymous says:

    Keep on keepin’ on Jerol !
    Hope this is going well for you Jerol…I’ve always thought mixing genres like this was sort of cool – but has not always been done right….I always liked DC Comics Jonah Hex character (also post-Civil war)…A scarred bounty hunter with his own code of ethics who would sometimes get involved in tangentially supernatural adventures (and some more overt)…Course the Hex adventures were probably borrowed from the Eastwood spaghetti westerns which sometimes veered in this direction too…Native American writer Gerald Vizenor also comes to mind as a writer who has explored post-apocalyptic stories about future generations of his people, the Chippewa (Bearheart: The Heirship Chronicles has recently been re-published.)…I admire you for having the stick-to-it-ness of planting your seat in the chair and writing everyday (I went through a period, years ago where I tried writing pulp/mystery/horror stories, collected a handful or rejection notices – and then gave it up due to lack of discipline…) So, keep it up and hang in there. Real writers have to write, they say (and it sounds like you have to. This is good – and worth cultivating.)…It will happen for you.

    • jeroljohnson says:

      Re: Keep on keepin’ on Jerol !
      Thank you for your support. And if you are interested, I’ll send you the outline if you want to take a look and maybe do some helpful nitpicking.

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