I figure it's about time I posted something else here before that damn cat takes over the entire site.
So: The Zone. I'm guessing most writers know about the zone, although they'll have different names for it. Simply put, The Zone is writing nirvana; a zen-like state in which you become one with the keyboard and angels play trumpets with every word you type and you only stop to take bathroom breaks which is fine because you're pissing rainbows.
Getting into The Zone is a tricky business. I've tried all sorts of routines designed to stimulate The Zone. I guess it's a bit like a sports star getting superstitious about repeating their routine from a previous, successful day. You start to repeat the same steps in the hope of recreating that awesome moment when you realise you've been typing for hours and it hasn't felt like work for a single second. Most of that time you've spent in a trance. It's utterly brilliant, and impossibly slippery. I've tried writing at the same time, taking strategic naps, eating the same foods, duplicating everything. For a long time I thought music was the key: throughout much of the writing of Psychosis I was listening to ear-bleedingly loud music that ended up being a wall of noise that helped me get myself out of my head and into the characters'.
Now music doesn't work, but silence does. The Zone is tricksy. My precious.
But the key to the zone is just up there, right above that strained Gollum reference. Getting into the head of the characters. For me it is both the hardest and the easiest part of writing. Hard to accomplish, but once you do, you feel a bit like Neo at the end of the first Matrix movie: a master of all you survey, and not even slightly concerned that the sequels are going to be awful. When I'm in the zone, I can slip inside Agent Smith without him even noticing. Er...so to speak.
It's been on my mind this week because I've struggled to get into The Zone for my latest work, and every paragraph has been an uphill battle. I've tried everything I know, and The Zone has stubbornly told me to piss off. Infuriating, not because it stops you entirely, but because it slows you down so much.
But in recent days, I have once again attained nirvana and heard the trumpets, and it's all because I finally stopped to listen to what the characters wanted to say. And it was nothing to do with Wildfire Chronicles. In short, and to put this post firmly in the gutter, where all the good stuff happens, I've had story constipation. Yeah, let's roll with that image baby, it's a winner, can't imagine that putting anyone off, no sir. That's right: something has been blocking me up.
The good news for me - and hopefully for readers out there - is that the blockage in question is a novel completely unrelated to my work so far, although still very much a horror. Even better: it's being written almost entirely in The Zone, thus far at least. I'm hopeful the first draft will continue to fly by. So far it feels like the characters are writing it for me.
All of which means I'm hopeful I'll have not one, but two new works out soon. Which comes first depends on The Zone.
Now then, am I going to publish this post full of references to urination and troublesome bowel movements? Fuck it, it's my website.
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