Monday, December 1, 2008

Right Brain

Maybe it’s the tryptophan-induced malaise, but I feel like the fun part is behind me. Rewriting sucks. Draft #2 has been slow going. I’ve only been at it for a few weeks and already I’ve cut over 100 pages. I didn’t realize how much of what I’d written was redundant, extraneous, or just plain crappy. The cutting, while painful, wasn’t completely unexpected. I’d planned to cut the draft down to a bare bones story of about 250 pages, and then expand it in the right places (dramatic scenes, character development, etc.) to bring it back up to around 350 pages. We’ll see… at the rate I’ve been cutting, I could end up with just a table of contents.

When writing the first draft, if I got stuck, I would write “fix later” and move on. If I came to a point that required extensive research, I would just make something up, add “needs research,” and forge ahead. Now the time has come to fix those things, to do that research, and I don’t want to. I don’t I don’t I don’t.

Before I started this project, I assumed that the research and rewriting and editing would be the easiest parts for me. After all, my education and career have largely focused on the analytical. I’m a data guy, or so I thought. I was more worried that I wouldn’t be able to write creatively for a sustained period. But over the past seven months (can you believe it’s been seven months?) it’s like my right brain has expanded and crowded out my left brain. The creative part has come easy. It’s the other part I want to put off. Now that I’ve finished one rough draft, I don’t want to polish it; I want to get started on a hundred other stories I have in my head.

While the next few months will surely be arduous, I see this revelation as a positive one. If I enjoy the process of writing above all, it means there’s a lot of gas left in the tank: I won’t be limited by subject or a lack of creative ideas. It means I’m in it for the long haul. It means I will always write.


  1. Keep up the good work Brian! Come up and visit the next time you take a break. If the gloom of SF helps you focus on writing, wait until you hang around here for a while. 140 inches of rain per year should turn you into an instant Robin Cook!

  2. After you've become fabulously successful you can hire someone to do the technical research for you. That will free up more of your time for the creative aspects of writing.

  3. Brain drain. Good work on making 7 months.