I knew it had been a while since I’d posted a chapter update to my AU John Porter fan fiction effort, Recovery. When I logged into the DreamerFiction today, I was horrified to see just how long it has really been. My last update, Chapter 23, was posted on March 20…that’s two months ago! Good grief! I don’t think I’m alone in having felt the frustration of becoming invested in a multi chapter, complex story, only to find that the author abandoned it for one reason or another. Fear not lectores, I will finish Recovery, and soon, but in the meantime, I’ve been thinking a little about what the hold up has been.
No doubt part of the problem is the ordinary average chaos that is my life. Since mid March, there have been numerous additions to the regular mayhem. First, my husband started a new job which required the Human Resources Manager (that would be me) to fill out a gogillion forms for various and sundry benefits and submit proof of the valid existence of myself and my children as related to the covered employee…my husband, their father. (This process necessitated a visit to the courthouse to replace a missing birth certificate – I opted for the multiple copy bargain rate – just in case) Also new to me was the intensive rehearsal and performance schedule of the in house thespian that occupied the theatrical agent and principle chauffeur (also me) for the first half of April. Factor in the end of the academic year, grading and most recently a bout with some unspecified pestilence that first transformed Mini Me into a feverish, coughing semi invalid and has since left me with a largely inaudible squeak in place of a voice, and my lack of progress comes into focus.
I can’t credit my schedule for all of it though. My life isn’t that much busier than it was when I started writing the story. I found a way to shuffle things around before so that I was updating about every two weeks…what is the problem now?
Another part of the equation lies in my writing method. Apart from blog posts, which I compose at the computer, my other writing all begins in handwritten form. I’ve written like this forever. If I try to sit down and compose from scratch at the computer, I end up drawing a complete blank and staring at the screen in a daze. It’s a different story with paper and pen. I usually sit down and start to outline…the bullet points at some stage broaden into paragraphs and dialogue. Maybe it’s a tactile thing…I love the feel of fine paper and scratch of the pen across it’s surface. I’ve found that I prefer gel pens since the ink dries quickly and doesn’t blob or smudge, and using a variety of colors allows me to make notes and edit as I go. I have several notebooks, that I now carry along in my bookbag to keep them away from the curious, which contain various chapters, chapter outlines and research notes. I am much more productive when I can disconnect from everything for a couple of hours and just lose myself in the cadence of penning the story to paper. I make corrections as I go along, but the transcription onto the computer serves as another stage of the editing process. I’ve been writing like this for so long (since before the dawn of time…or at least the ubiquitous personal computer) that I didn’t realize that it was at all noteworthy until the subject came up in a conversation about gel pens between Servetus and me. So there you go…my archaic little secret! Interestingly, my son, a burgeoning writer himself, reports that he writes the same way – the nosy mother in me wonders where he keeps his notebooks stashed!
While the opportunity and means to write certainly play a large part in my foot dragging end to Recovery, the more I think about it, the more I’m certain that there’s another factor in the mix. I honestly think I’m suffering from a preemptive case of separation anxiety (SAD…not to be confused with SAD – Social Anxiety Disorder or SAD – Seasonal Affective Disorder. Honestly acronym makers!) I think that a part of me is reluctant to bring this story to a close because I’ve become really attached to the characters and I don’t want to let them go. Be that as it may, I fully intend to finish Recovery. My dear pal Guylty has helped me out with my missing SB DVD, so I have plenty of renewed inspiRAtion. I wouldn’t be at all surprised though, if there aren’t a few holiday vignettes in the hopper for John Porter and Lindsey Tate.