Just Checkin’ In – Guest Post by Andrew Joyce…

Howdy, folks. I’m taking a short break from writing my version of the “Great American Novel” and thought I’d check in with ya.

I’ve been working on my latest book (writing and researching) for about four hundred years now. Well, maybe I exaggerate a mite, but you get my drift. It’s what some might call an epic. Me, I just call it a story. A long story, but still only a story. It’s about three generations of one family, blah, blah, blah.

Anyway, here’s the deal. Something happened this go-round that has never happened to me before. It was kinda weird. And if I may, I’d like to tell you about it.

So, I get up to around 163,000 words and I’m going strong. I got the words, man! They’re just flowin’. I mean, no problem—no problem whatsoever. No down days, unless you count the days I took off to spend time with my vodka collection. And there were many of those, I gotta admit.

I get to chapter forty-two (my chapters are averaging 4,500 words) and I bang it out in one setting. One hour … BOOM! and it’s on paper. I’m a friggin’ genius! I take the rest of the day off and get drunk so I can channel my inner Francis S. Fitzgerald.

The next morning, I sit down at the computer and start the next chapter. I write about two thousand words and figure that’s enough for the day. Maybe I’ll go for a walk. Maybe I’ll visit that nice lady down the street and engage her in a conversation about Steinbeck and what he was thinking when he wrote The Winter of Our Discontent. What was his thinking when he wrote that ending?

I awoke the next morning with dread in my heart. I realized that everything I’d written the previous day sucked. Sucked big-time.I was leading my main character down the wrong road! What was I thinking? So I deleted that chapter and I stared at the computer for three … maybe four days. Nothing! So much for being a genius.

On day five, I knew where I was gonna take my guy, and I took him there.

No dice.

The next day I deleted everything, again. This chapter was proving to be a bitch. It was back to staring at the computer screen, wishing I had become a plumber like my momma wanted me to.

Here I sit—fourteen days from the last time I wrote anything decent. But today I think I finally got it. Or, more to the point, my protagonist has finally shown me the way. It wasn’t until we got to where he wanted to go, that the words started to flow onceagain.

The moral of my pitiful story is … let your characters do the thinking. Your job is to follow where they lead.

At least it works for me.

Andrew Joyce

October, 2018


26 thoughts on “Just Checkin’ In – Guest Post by Andrew Joyce…

  1. 163,000 words and going strong? Andrew, you’re amazing. I know exactly what you’re describing. Our characters, if we’ve written them well, are real people with their own interests, goals, motivations, and methods. We might challenge them, but they will be true to themselves. Happy Writing.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. A great post and one many of us can relate to. Yes, we need to let the characters tell us where they are going and we need to listen!! Good luck with your story. I think it will be amazing!!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thanks for saying that you think it would be amazing. One day I think it’s okay,” and the next, I don’t think it’s worthy to line the bottom of a bird cage. I hope when I’m finished, I believe the former rather than the latter.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Hi Andrew,
    I don’t have your experience as a writer, but I have had similar things happen to me. There are days when I sit down at the computer and it doesn’t flow. I find something else to do and try again the next day. Currently, I’m 3/4 through my first draft of my next book. I know how I want it to end, but at this point, I’m not sure how to get there. This is my first time writing a fiction. My others were all based on my life experiences. This one I’m going off the seat of my pants and so far it has been fun. Hang in there my friend. You have it in you and you will get it done. Personally, I’m a scotch drinker. It screws with my head better than vodka. 😲

    Liked by 3 people

    • You’re a great writer, no doubt about that. Knowing where you want to end a novel is good (at least in my eyes). The fun part is getting there. I’d drink rubbing alcohol before I’d drink scotch … just sayin’.

      Liked by 2 people


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