This isn’t the first time that I’ve taken an extended break from writing. From the early 1980s to mid-1990s, I wrote a lot of poetry and short stories because they could be completed in one sitting. Most of the stories were plot-driven or idea-driven stories of 3,000 words or less. I rarely wrote anything longer than that, and my production was intermittent. Once I started college, I continued to write poetry but more-or-less tabled my fiction because the methodical, analytical mindset that is conducive to success in academia doesn’t mesh very well with the spontaneous, creative mindset that is needed for writing fiction. However, the knowledge I gained from the courses I took provided the foundation for generating a lot of ideas, most of which found their way into the essays I wrote for college. But those essays weren’t enough, and by the time I started graduate school, the creative urge was screaming to be set free. Poetry wasn’t enough to satisfy it, so I revisited a question that had inspired several of the short stories I wrote in the late 1980s: Why would aliens visit earth? A number of short stories followed, and by the time I started my MA in creative writing, I was ready for it. I wrote quite a bit during the two years it took to complete my degree, but that ended when I started teaching. At that point, I devoted almost all of my time to developing the courses I taught, and I barely managed to squeeze out some poetry along the way. After eight years of teaching, my creativity was once again ready to explode, and since my courses were well-developed, I had the time to pursue writing again. Poetry and short stories came first, and a few of those stories evolved into my first novel (The Snodgrass Incident). The Tiger’s Eye was next, and several other novels followed in fairly quick succession. I finally took another break about a year or so ago, and now I’m ready for that break to end.
I’ll be working my way back into writing by revising the Angus the Mage series and the scenes I have ready for I Will Be King. I am approaching the two revisions differently, however, since my objective for the Angus the Mage series is to identify loose ends that still need to be tied up, to tighten up the style for The Tiger’s Eye (I’ve learned a lot about writing novels since I wrote it), and to integrate most of the Prelude of Angst into the earlier novels. Also, now that I know how the series ends, I am considering adding scenes to produce a better continuity of content. If I make these substantial changes, I will republish the series as a revised edition, discontinue Aftermath (its content will be combined with what remains of Angst after the Prelude has been removed), and create a blog post outlining the extent of the changes I have made. If I do not make these substantial changes, then I will simply upload the revisions to the existing series.
My objective for revising I Will Be King is to refamiliarize myself with the characters and plot developments so that it will flow more effectively once I start adding scenes to it. Although I know what the main plot twists are going to be, I generally let the events between them evolve as the characters want them to, and I need to be “in the characters’ minds” to let that happen. Right now, I’m a bit too detached and objective for that, and revising the existing scenes should reestablish my connection with their voices. Since I revisited my earlier writing to help end the previous breaks I’ve taken from writing, I am confident that doing these revisions will end this one.
My next update will be after my Spring classes have started (in about 2 weeks).