Mark Terry

Friday, December 15, 2006

Keeping Focused

December 15, 2006
I've been going through an unusually creative period. Not only have I been doing all the writing that pays the bills, but I'm working on the 4th Derek Stillwater novel, I wasted time on the first 100 pages of a medical thriller that failed to thrill, and I'm working on another novel. I was, until yesterday, trying to work up a treatment for one of my unpublished novels in order to write a screenplay, but gave up on that as a bad idea. It's possible I'll try writing a screenplay sometime, but about a quarter of the way through working on the treatment I realized that this particular novel had such a complicated structure and so many characters, with all the subplots weaving in and out, that my original idea of streamlining it for a screenplay was going to be too big a headache and besides, my heart wasn't really in it.

I've also had the notion--which was all it was, not a real idea--of trying to write a YA fantasy novel. Yesterday, out of the blue, my notion turned into an idea, and while hanging out in the living room with the TV on last night, just for fun, I pulled out the laptop and started working on the first chapter of this story, whose first chapter is called "I Boogie Board on the Big Bad Wave of Doom." My 13-year-old son was reading over my shoulder and he thought it was both funny and entertaining, so maybe I'll keep playing with it, to entertain myself and my kids, if for no other reason.

But I'm occasionally feeling like Bilbo Baggins in the Lord of the Rings, who complains to Gandalf that he's old and feeling spread like not enough butter on too much toast.

I worry that I'm losing my focus on the fourth novel, the one I'm contracted for. It doesn't appear to be a problem. I sent off those first 100 pages yesterday, and I had read and re-written them the day before and I think they're good. It's just that I keep turning to other ideas and want to work on them, too.

I'm also fairly attuned to my own neuroses and psychological habits and understand that when I get like this there may be a reason for it, some unhappiness or problem that is happening in one area of my life that is affecting another area of my life. It's possible I'm using all this creativity to avoid working on my "day job" writing, which is not nearly as much fun, but at the moment pays significantly better. Or it could be the feeling that I've got my toe in the publishing door with the Derek Stillwater novels, now's the time to work harder and slam my shoulder against it and make sure it's wide open.

Or, always possible: I'm a neurotic pain in the ass who is his own worst enemy.

Yeah. I can see that.

Mark Terry


Blogger spyscribbler said...

Aren't we always our own worst enemy?

Hey, have you read Mastery by George Leonard? I'm not bringing it up because of what you blogged about, LOL, but because it's about the lifelong mastery of an art, and our adult reactions to it. Also, it's so very inspiring in reminding us why we love the process so much.

I mostly thought of you, because it's written by a martial arts instructor, and you seem really attuned to the artistic process. I told so many people about it, that they all bought the little book, and now I have to special order it!

Speaking of which, Miss Smart Girl Here who thought your book was bought under her, found it shelved where it's supposed to be. I realized, yesterday, that I had taken to checking the S's for Stillwater, instead of T's for Terry. Yeesh, I probably shouldn't admit that! Anyway, I snatched it up for Christmas break reading!

And here you are working on the fourth one! When can we expect to read the second and third?

11:25 AM  
Blogger Mark said...

Thanks Spyscribbler,
That book sounds interesting.

Hope you enjoy The Devil's Pitchfork.

The second Derek Stillwater, The Serpent's Kiss, is scheduled for July 1st, 2007.

I've got the pub dates for #3 and #4, but let's not confuse the issue too much. Both will be published in 2008.

Happy Holidays.

12:34 PM  
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