The Time It Takes

I’m up early, ostensibly to meditate and write something, you know, writerly, before plunging into the heap of unwritten psych evals on my desk.  As usual, one of the little nagging thoughts calling from some dark crevice of my mind is the “you’re not getting your novel done fast enough!”  (And from the other dark corner, a kind of comic defense attorney alternative voice yells back, “He doesn’t know what to say yet!  Lay off!”

So it was at least a bit of balm on the guiltsore to find this paragraph in a post on Amazon about their best books list for 2010:

One pattern that emerges among the top books on our list is how many of them took a long time to get written, for one reason or another. If we, as people say, live in an age of instant gratification and infatuation with youth (the jury’s out yet), these books are noteworthy for how much they gained from patience and persistence. And perspective too. Skloot, as she mentioned in an interview with our cohorts at Omnivoracious, was fascinated with the story of Henrietta Lacks since she heard a bit of her story in high school, and she spent over a decade gaining the trust of Henrietta’s family and, with their help, unearthing her story. It took over three decades before Karl Marlantes could finally transform his experiences in Vietnam into the finished art of Matterhorn. And Patti Smith’s memoir of her young friendship with Robert Mapplethorpe is so charming in part because of the way her wide-eyed youth exists so easily within the woman she’s become 40 years later. Even Michael Lewis’s Big Short, a book about the way we live now, didn’t come in the first big wave of books about the crash.

Now I feel better.  Just a bit.



Filed under Writing

2 responses to “The Time It Takes

  1. Hello Greg, I read your article in The Writer, and since followed up on your blog. Your posts on writing late in life are certainly making me feel better, and your article on Social IQ came during a moment of serendipity when I was struggling with a character in my first draft novel, asking the question: “Why do agents say they don’t like her?” Your article was there at that exact second in time, and I’m on my way to incorporating your suggestions. I was also wondering when your novel (is it Dark Analysis?) might be released (I see you have an agent subbing it). I think it would be an excellent read and I read to learn (particularly in the world of fiction).

    Kind regards, Tamara Pratt

    • Greg Korgeski

      Thanks for your kind words, Tamara. Your work sounds interesting. I think that incorporating stuff about social intelligence into the design of characters is essential (thanks for reading my Writer piece on that!), though of course what you do with that dimension can be quite varied. (My character in Dark Analysis is really really good at one kind of social interaction, but it’s also something of a “dark skill” involving how she uses sexuality to accomplish goals; on the other hand, she has major gaps and vulnerabilities that flow from those and in some ways she’s admittedly a potentially unlikable person.)

      As for the “when is DA coming out?” question, wish I knew! Have a great agent, Chelsea Lindman, at Nicholas Ellison, and she’s very enthusiastic about it. But you know, finding the right publisher and editor take awhile. I keep waiting for the “phone call from Chelsea” with the answer to that very question!

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