I suppose you could call it a catharsis.
This week I finished the first draft of my novel, The Seven Isaacs. I’ve mentioned it here a few times before. It’s been four years in the making, easily. I know I’ve said this multiple times on this blog, but let’s recap for the audience that is just joining us… Which is no one, because I know I have zero readers. So, stop me if you’ve heard this one.
Somewhere around late 2007, while working in a record store in Clay, NY… Yes, you’ve never heard of it, and if you are lucky, you might be able to pull it up on goole maps. It’s out in the middle of nowhere and that’s where it belongs. I would walk around those aisles of falling cd sales with a yellow legal pad and a mechanical pencil and hatch out the ideas for new movies. I had been two years outside of Cold Winter and was looking for new projects and ideas.
I came up with the title first. The Seven Isaacs. The idea immediately followed, from which I sketched out a four page scriptment of the opening scenes of a movie featuring seven children that were by-products of human cloning experiments and as their lab was shut down by the government, the children were released into the wild to fend for themselves and slowly discover that they had special powers. I bounced my ideas off my then movie making partner to which he met with very low enthusiasm. I kind of set it aside and shelved it for a while, but those kids kept creeping back into my mind.
One day, I grabbed a laptop… Remember those? And pounded out the opening first chapter of what I considered the novel format of the movie. The ideas that had been generating in my head were far too big for the screen and really dealt with issues that society would be uncomfortable paying money for. Who wants to see kids get killed on screen?
Over the next few weeks I banged out the first three chapters. I was new to the novel game and made sure I could focus on the details that writing a novel would require. I had to stop writing like a director.
Those three chapters remained the first three chapters of my book for a very long time. I did not pick it up again until late in 2008. It was at that time that my life was turned upside down and with divorce imminent I took a break from creativity to try and figure out my day to day bullshit.
Another six months passed and while substitute teaching at a local school I pounded out another three or four chapters. I always did my best writing while on the job. It’s always been that way. I keep my mind flowing during quiet times to focus on the writing. Always works better at work. Less distractions.
Once summer hit, I again fell into the routine of daily life and couldn’t get back to writing. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to, I just didn’t have the time. Between balancing the divorce and the new love life and the kids and everything, there was just no time to dedicate to the book. In that time I also spent a great deal of time focusing on Ashio, my Japanese samurai script.
It wasn’t until the advent of the iPad and the waiting and purchase of the iPad 2 that completely changed my writing habits. The iPad opened up a whole new realm of writing for me that I had been dying to figure out, how to write while on the go. Net books just didn’t quite do it for me. They were portable, but not portable enough. The iPad changed that. I could now pick up and write while sitting in the passenger’s seat on the car, i could write in the back room at wool on my lunch breaks, I could write in bed, I could write while watching TV. The iPad made me finish this novel.
The ideas began to flow fast and furiously as the creative tool was opened up. The words wrote themselves faster than I could think about them. I wrote over sixty thousand words in less than sixty days. I was writing like crazy. I could do ten pages a day. Sometimes fifteen. Never less than five.
Then, it came. Before I knew it, my story had snuck up on me and the ending appeared then vanished in the the rearview. I was writing the after climax. Then an epilogue.
I finished the final chapter and the epilogue while eating chicken parm, alone in a Denny’s restaurant. Onion rings. Chicken Parm. And a brownie sundae to celebrate. I had written probably ten pages in that sitting. Fingers were moving so quickly while wiping the grease off from the onion rings. I repeatedly wiped the fingerprints from the screen.
As I drew nearer to the end, I felt a wave of emotion creeping up on me. The epilogue truly brought that wave to a crest. I didn’t cry but felt such deep feelings of love and loss and regret and accomplishment and pride. Writing those final words, I took in the feelings of the character highlighted in the epilogue. I felt each and every keystroke as my heart raced and pounded in my chest. It brought back four years worth of feelings and four years worth of hard work came to a close.
I finished the first The Seven Isaacs, my first novel at 6:48 pm, Saturday, May 7th, 2011. It clocked in at 94,000 words. 514 pages. 21 chapters and an epilogue.
…and now, I have to read my own novel to fix all of my errors!