“To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven.” Ecclesiastes 3:1
This week I started writing the second book in my Rephaim series. I never thought I’d actually finish the first one, so you can imagine my surprise at setting down the opening lines of the second. I did fine until I reached the second chapter where the hero finds himself plopped down in ancient Greece. Then came the questions:
What did ancient Greece and the Greeks look like?
What kind of houses did they live in?
How did the Oracle of Delphi get her start?
Which god did she prophesy for?
What did Greek wells look like? (Incidentally, no data seems to exist for this one. Does anyone out there know?)
And the list goes on. So much so that, to date, I have written perhaps six new pages and I’m beginning to suspect myself of slacking. Research is necessary. The truth is, you probably can’t do good work without it. But the more subversive truth is: Research is fun! You find out new stuff, you visit lots of websites and check out lots of books and you get to READ!
Unfortunately, the same time warp effect happens in research as in writing. Ie: you look at the clock one minute and its nine a.m. Look at it a second time, a mere nano-second later, and its 4:30 in the afternoon, you’ve missed lunch and your spouse is asking what you might want to do for dinner and how come his best shirt is wrinkling in the dryer, which apparently completed its cycle three hours ago. (And, yes, I do the laundry. Not because he can’t, but because fairness demands there be a division of labor and I hate mowing the lawn. Plus, I don’t like the way he sorts.)
Meanwhile, my Low Page Count was staring at me accusingly, yelling epithets like “trifler” and “laggard.” Quite cruel really, but I was starting to worry that the LPC was not far wrong. Then I remembered. There had been times like this, especially toward the beginning, in the first book. There is a certain curve to the writing process and it takes some time to get ahead of it, build momentum and press forward. There also came a time in the first novel when I felt pushed along, couldn’t wait to get to the manuscript and wrote entire scenes and even whole chapters at a single sitting.
It seems that it all comes down to timing. In writing, as in life, there is indeed “a time to every purpose under heaven.” So, having put down my cudgel of self abuse I will take up my notebook and tell the LPC I’ll get to him later.