Productivity? Yeah, about that…

So, for the past week, I’ve kind of been between projects.  I finished the revisions for Stars of Blood and Glory last Saturday, after a week or two of light revisions, but since then it’s been a bit of a struggle. I’m still working on Star Wanderers: Benefactor, and progress on Lifewalker had been coming along, but haven’t managed to really immerse myself in either those stories yet.  As a result, I don’t really have much to show for this past week, other than a scene or two in Benefactor and a new first chapter for Lifewalker.

One of the problems, I think, is that I haven’t really been able to turn off my internal editor.  Even with my blog posts, I’m constantly going back and rewriting the previous sentence.  This sucks, because it slows down the writing, makes the process tedious and painful, and doesn’t necessarily improve the quality of my writing either (at least, not beyond a certain degree).

What I really need to do is run with a project until I hit my stride, and then do all I can just to keep a steady pace.  So that’s what I’m going to do with Lifewalker this next week: force myself to write without really caring too much about whether the stuff on the page is pretty good.  Because usually, when I don’t angst about it too much, it actually turns out pretty well.  Sure, I might write myself into a hole I can’t get out of (at least, not without breaking the story), but if that’s the case I can always toss out a couple of chapters and redo things.

So far, Lifewalker has surprised me quite a bit.  I have a general direction I want the story to go, and a vague idea of where the main character is going to go up, but when it comes to a particular scene, things will pop up out of nowhere that takes the story in all sorts of interesting directions.

For example, my main character is currently wandering a post-apocalyptic Utah with just a handful of possessions.  One of them is a copy of Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn: The Final Empire.  At one point, he spends a night among the people living in the ruins of Santaquin (“Sannakin”).  Out of nowhere, I decided to have him read them a chapter or two from the novel, which of course confuses the heck out of them.  So then they start asking him questions, like whether the world before the apocalypse was covered in ash like in the novel, which leads them to all sorts of wild and ridiculous speculations.  The aside only lasts a couple of paragraphs, but it takes things in a whole direction that I hadn’t planned it to–one that really fleshes out the world.

This is my first time writing post-apocalyptic fiction, and while it seems a bit daunting, when I actually sit down and focus on putting out new words, wild and interesting things happen.  The research is a bit daunting, but the story takes place two hundred years after the apocalypse event, so there’s actually a fair amount of leeway.  As long as I’ve got Google Earth running in the background, with ready access to Wikipedia when I need it, I should be all right.

As for Benefactor, don’t worry, that one’s coming along as well.  When I’ve had too much of the post-apocalyptic world, it’s actually quite refreshing to come back to the familiar universe of the Star Wanderers series.  Bouncing between the two stories should be a good way to avoid burnout–though at my current pace, that’s the least of my worries.

Next week is going to be fairly eventful.  I’ve got a job on Monday that will take up most of the day, and LTUE will keep me occupied all Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.  Still, I should be able to get in at least a chapter or two in both stories.  We’ll see how it goes.

That’s about all for now.  It’s getting late, so I’d better turn in.  Night!

Author: Joe Vasicek

Joe Vasicek is the author of more than twenty science fiction books, including the Star Wanderers and Sons of the Starfarers series. As a young man, he studied Arabic and traveled across the Middle East and the Caucasus. He claims Utah as his home.

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