Saturday, October 15, 2011

Writing a New Book - What's it Like?

I'm 45,000 words into my next novel, which I'm calling Bluewater Killer.  It's the tale of a deranged man, cruising the Caribbean on his sailboat, leaving havoc in his wake.  It is not -- NOT -- autobiographical.  I may be deranged, but…

I'm having a lot of fun writing my first thriller.  It's quite a contrast to my experience writing Deception in Savannah, not that I didn't have a good time with that one.  It's radically different from Dungda de Islan', my second book and first non-fiction effort.  Making up a story from scratch really keeps my brain engaged, on several levels.  There's the obvious, the creative exercise itself, and the less obvious, but more taxing element of capturing the story and telling it coherently.

The stimulus of writing a thriller has been a bit of a surprise for me.  It's exciting in a whole different way, over and above the  excitement of watching characters come to life.  That's a thrill in itself, almost like watching your children grow up.  In the case of Bluewater Killer, I'm experiencing the fascination of watching a character unravel, and I'm trying to display that from his own perspective, as well as through the eyes of the other characters.

Writing with the manifest goal of generating and sustaining an increasing level of suspense is draining.  I feel wrung out at the end of every writing session, exhausted by the effort of typing fast enough to keep pace with the story.  When I stop for the day, I can't disengage my mind from what's happening in the world I just left when I closed the notebook.  I have the urge, every time I pass the computer, to boot it up and see what's happened since I was there last.

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