Archive for March 10th, 2007


Not demonic. I hope. This past week, I was bitten rather badly by the writing bug.

About 15 years ago, I wrote two books, back to back, about a KGB officer who became an Orthodox Christian. I haven’t especially tried to market them, because I sensed that I really didn’t know enough about Orthodoxy to be sure my information was accurate; and it’s a good thing I kept them to myself, because as it turned out, my characters decided to take a completely different tack from what I had envisioned then, and I’ve had to revise both books rather extensively.

Over the past 3 or 4 years, I’ve been trying to write about that different tack, but something has always stopped me. I figured my muse had deserted me, and frankly, that was fine with me — writing is a difficult business. (More later.) Then, just this past week, I got bitten again, in the form of a possible direction to go in that would clear up the cliffhanger ending I had in the second book. I knew it was right to go with this one, and since then, I’ve been writing at my old speed.

It isn’t the writing itself that’s difficult. It’s the physical reaction that you have between when an idea bites, and when you can actually put pen to paper. (I still write longhand, since I can take my notebook with me anywhere.) I’m serious. I can feel my pulse pounding, my head fills up with fluid of some kind, and my nerves are strung out taut until I can start writing, getting all this stuff, whatever it is, out of my system. Then I settle down, till the next day’s work.

And there’s the possession factor. Your characters take you over. You cannot tell your characters what to do, what to say, or where to go. They tell you, and the infamous “writer’s block” is what occurs when a writer tries to dictate to his characters. They just shut down, and leave you with the pounding pulse and the head full of fluid and the strung-out nerves, until you back down and let them tell their story. Once you have it all on paper, then you can start the revision process on the computer or the typewriter, but while the thing is in rough form, it’s rough in all senses of the word.

And my writing is so dark. I don’t know where that comes from, either, unless it’s a perception that a world that functions around the KGB is bound to be dark, and the only thing that can bring it light is Orthodox Christianity. But I don’t like the dark part.

Pray for me.

Read Full Post »