Talking or writing about your work in progress, or WIP, is always unnerving for an author. Well, for this author, anyway. I can’t really speak for anyone else.
Back in November, fellow author Jay Lemming conducted an author interview with me for about 45 minutes. We spoke about a variety of topics, and it wasn’t until late in the interview that he asked about Whizzers, my current WIP.
It’s a funny thing: the more I talk (or write) about this project, the worse I feel about doing so. I’m not sure if that’s about “giving away my fire,” as they say. It could be that I feel better working on the book than discussing it.
There’s another possibility, though: this novel is so close to my heart, so emotional for me, that I feel unusually vulnerable discussing it. I think that would explain the feeling.
I Heard It Call My Name
The genesis of Whizzers actually goes all the way back to about the year 2000. I can’t say for sure, because I saved multiple copies as new documents. I knew it was going to be more than a short story – I had 20-30 pages – but that was it. I only had those 20-30 pages.
So it went for the next 15, 16 years. I had a writing career, and anyway, I also had another novel to complete: Miles of Files, which was about 2/3 finished. Unfortunately, I got hung up on a plot point with Miles, and kept going back through it over a period of years. And I mean years!
When I finally finished Miles of Files, I was so focused on putting out all three of my completed novels, I back-burnered Whizzers even more firmly. After all, I had maybe 60 pages by then, but no end game in sight. All I knew was that I had a publishing company to run, and Whizzers would have to wait.
It’s Not Just Business; It’s Personal
Naturally, there came a point where I had to get back to writing the novel. And though I already knew it was the most personal work I’ve ever done, I was surprised by how it evolved as I progressed from 30 pages to 130 pages.
I got sober in 1989, almost exactly 30 years ago. This novel delves into that in some fashion, as a fictional version of the author travels in time back to various eras, mainly to give comfort to others – who also happen to be alcoholics or addicts.
When I started writing the book, years ago, I had only a hazy idea of what this project entailed. Now that I’m right in the middle of it – and I mean fully in it, so that the world around me does not completely engage me like it normally would – I’m discovering a world within a world in my own psyche.
It’s semi-autobiographical, but more importantly, I think it’s the best work I’ve ever done. It’s spiritual, it’s emotional, it’s dramatic – and yes, at times it’s terrifying. But no matter how it turns out, it’s still fiction in the end. I won’t die from writing it. And I’m excited to finish and publish it this year. I’m truly looking forward to sharing this story with the world.
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