I’m hoping I’m not the only one who can still here McCoy’s voice. Who doesn’t still recite those words of wisdom, though it’s usually, I’m a doctor not a bricklayer, lol. God, those were the days. Anyway, this week’s topic is…the hardest thing I’ve ever written.
You know, every week, I keep thinking, this one will be easy. Finally, I’ll have a post I can just pound out and not have to fret over. This is not that week. Oh, nay, nay. Because it’s a trick question. The truth is—the current book I’m writing is ALWAYS THE HARDEST THING I’VE WRITTEN.
Though I suppose they might mean emotionally? Technically? Or did I have a broken finger and damn it was just so hard to type? I’m not really sure. I know for a few of my pals…it’s either a genre they never imagined writing (or were told they couldn’t. Oh, how some negative folks have had to eat those words) or a story that’s so dear to them, so emotionally draining, that it’s torn from within, rather than scattered on the page. Me?
I’m not sure I have a real answer for this. Or maybe I have two.
My first answer would be—the first book I ever wrote. Mostly because it took forever and has seen more revisions than a certain pop star’s nose. There’s just something inherently intimidating about your first novel. It’s like pouring your soul onto the page. And it’s hard when you finally finish it and realize that it’s still a long way from being truly finished. Putting it out there, waiting to see what others think of it…it’s a near impossible feat. Until you do it. Then you obsess over how you can ever create another. How you’ve become so invested in these characters—so entrenched in their story—that you’re not sure you have another in you. They’re family. They’re…you.
Then those voices start nattering away in your head. Distant at first, but slowly more aggressively until you have to listen. Have to jot down another idea and voila…your next novel is born. But until that moment, that book, that blood, sweat and tears creation is the hardest thing you’ve ever written.
But that’s sort of a cope out answer. After all, the first time you do most things is probably going to be the most difficult. It’s a giant learning curve. An art that takes time. I’d like to think I’ve matured since those first few stories. That I’ve come into my own style. Not that I’m done learning—oh, it’s a lifetime achievement—but I’m comfortable with who I am and know that from here on in, the changes in style or voice are just refinements. Not complete do-overs. And for better or worse, I’m okay with that. Like music, readers’ tastes are varied, so there’s a bit of a niche for everyone.
So, that still leaves the less generic answer as to what’s the hardest thing I’ve ever written. Honestly, and this isn’t a lie—the book I’m damn near finished. Don’t get me wrong, there have been other difficult books. But I honestly haven’t had one that is emotionally draining. Not really. Ricochet and Force of Nature were challenging, but I got to the point where I was living the story. Other books have taken longer than usual to write. But this one… dear god.
It’s the last book in my Tombstone series, aptly names, LAST STAND, and I’m so close I can taste it. But it’s taken so long. So painfully long. It’s not that I don’t love the characters. I do. And I know where the story is going. It’s getting the words on the page. It’s almost as if having this final book means I have to do justice to the series. I’ve loved Marshal Law and Forgotten. So this…it needs to measure up. Surpass the others. Something like that. And I’ve been bleeding every damn word since the beginning. I honestly don’t know what’s behind my inability to finish it under a reasonable timetable. All I know is that I’m clawing every word. I’m happy with it, but it’s been a monuments achievement at this point.
Now, had this subject come up a few months from now, I’d have a different answer. Mostly because I’m going to venture outside of my comfort zone and write my first, strictly MM book. The second Collateral Damage story. Yes, I’ve written a few MMF books thus far. But I’ve never not had a lady tempt her men. And this…this will be a challenge to see if I can keep the romance without having a character in it that’s essentially me!
That’s it, I suppose. Hop on over to the others and see what’s driven them to the edge.