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  • Writer's pictureA.R. McNevin

PoC - book three - 01 - the process

Updated: Mar 24, 2021

Parliament of Crowe; book three, chapter one, page one, paragraph one; first word.

I considered whether or not to do this; to put my process out into the world like this. If it's interesting, would that detract from the finished book(s)? Or would it be another process, like laws and sausages, that one shouldn't watch being made?

So, some ground rules starting off.

  • These articles will not include any text from the book(s) as yet published at the time of posting.

  • While I would love to talk about spoilers and hints and theories about what's happening in the next book/season, questions won't be answered about what is going to happen and unfortunately interpretations of what has happened won't be explored. If you have theories, great. No, really, That's awesome. Should there be an interest doing in the future, do I dare do an AMA?

  • The primary reason for these articles will discuss the struggles, surprises, and elations of the writing process.

One of the factors behind doing this blog is to motivate me to write. While my writing schedule could be considered to be more open than some, I still find myself staring at a blinking cursor (as I did for most of the entirety of today) and desperately trying to will myself to write. Writing an article, expressing my woes and wonderment will hopefully help me do what I need to/want to do.

Yes, this is a purely selfish enterprise. Enjoy!

My Process

One may look at the previous paragraph and think, 'ahh, he had writer's block'. To this I would say, not so. I don't believe in writer's block. I think it was Ray Bradbury who said (and I am substantially paraphrasing here) that when a story is ready to be told, it will flow out of you. When it is not ready, it won't come. The words might be forced out onto the page, but the story won't be good. It might be out of you, but it won't be your best work.

This isn't to say there aren't shades of grey in-between ready and not-ready.

But, for myself, for today as an example, the 'block' wasn't that I didn't know where to go or what I wanted the characters to do or anything like that. It was, actually, that I wanted to write something else much, much more.

For most of the last two years, I've allowed the stories to write themselves. Thanks to COVID (a phrase I will never use again - Ireland is currently in a very long lockdown, which while I agree with is also driving me mad), I was able to devote more time to writing. During those writing sessions, I would look at the relatively long list of ideas I have (that's not a brag; ideas are a dime-a-dozen. Execution of those ideas; that's where the craft lies) and allow the stories to tell me which one would be worked on then.

This resulted in two novels (Rise, the Quantamancer [2020] & Loose Change [yet to be release]) and two novella (Keiretsu Heresy [2021] & Horizon [also yet to be release]) and whole truck load of other bits and pieces of novel(la). Beast of Burden, Beyond Horizon, Broadcast Nation, Demonic Intervention, Exploit, and others. Some were merely opening chapters, others got close to the half-way point.

Some came crashing to a halt when I realized the idea had run its course and where I was going wasn't interesting me anymore (it may again in the future, it may not), others were left in a half-finished state because I wanted them to be better; that I felt that the concept was too good to be misapplied so (in the current iteration of the story).

In the case today, it wasn't one of these old half-conceived, half-finished stories which were demanding my attention. Oh, no, it was a completely new one. But, I have committed to working on PoC #3. I want to get this done.

It's not that I'm not enjoying being back in the world of the Parliament of Crowe; far from it. It's a hoot! It's just that, in that moment, for the moment, I want to work on something else.

You may ask, why not work on the other project, especially if you spent so much time jumping from project to project in the last twenty-months? Thanks for asking. It's because I want to commit to this one project. I want to be monogamous with the Parliament.

If I allow myself to break off and work on the other idea, I may not return PoC #3 for a month, three-months, even a year. If I allow this whim to guide my hand, I won't do what ultimately that which I want to do, which is to finish the first season of the Parliament of Crowe (oh, yes; this is blocked out by season).

Plus, I know I won't get to books #2's for my other series if I don't finish PoC #3. Which means everything else I want to work on gets pushed off, into the grey unknown of the months and years to come.

To that end, I force myself to keep on track. The thing I risk is that, once PoC #3 is done, I may have lost the intangible spark for these other ideas. I may have the notes and the points of inspiration, but they often lack to feeling of the moment.

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