I was recently asked to write a guest blog article for the Inkpunks. The following are the opening paragraphs to the article; at the bottom is the permanent link for the whole article at the Inkpunks website.
On March 1st of 2011, I began writing a novel-length supernatural horror story called Cottonwood. I’d spent two months in planning and preparation. I’d drafted a seven-thousand-word treatment in three-act structure and revised it until I thought it was water-tight. I created a chapter-by-chapter outline and a stack of 5×8 note card “call sheets” for each day’s writing. I made a map of the town where the story takes place. I wrote character profiles.
Going into the actual writing – a plan that netted me 192,000 words in 255 days – I felt confident. I had, for Christ’s sake, thought of everything.
At 9:30PM on October 17th, I watched in terror as the cursor stood blinking next to the last word and the final bit of punctuation. The room was dead silent. I’d been stabbing at the keyboard for 36 weeks straight. It was done. I wanted to celebrate but couldn’t.
I called fellow horror writer Jacob Ruby for advice. “I finished Cottonwood,” I said. “What the hell do I do next?”
At the time, Jacob was still working on his first novel. “Take a break,” he said.
It was too easy. “What?” My head felt like it was full of hot roofing nails. “But the story is fresh in my mind. I have all this momentum built up and…”
“Take a fucking break,” he said. “You’ve done enough. Jesus, you worked for eight days while in Hawaii for your brother’s wedding. Step away from the story. Read a fantasy novel. Go see a bad movie. Write some short stories. Anything else.”
I hung up… [more]
Read my whole guest blog “I’ve finished writing my first novel. What the hell do I do next?” at Inkpunks.
The Inkpunks are a collective of authors, editors, free-thinkers and creative professionals, whose members include John Remy, Galen Dara, Andrew Penn Romine, Christie Yant, Erika Holt, Adam Israel, Morgan Dempsey, Sandra Wickham, Wendy Wagner and Jaym Gates.