Thursday, August 23, 2012

THE 96TH HOUR


My best moments are 48 and 96 hours after I've finished a story. Not 48 to 96 hours, but rather at 48 and 96 hours. Not on the dot, which is usually around 1 a.m., but close.

Immediately after finishing a story - drafting, redrafting, editing, receiving critiques, fixing according to critiques, then taking a deep breath and hitting send - I'm wiped. Like, draped boneless across a piece of furniture, chirping intermittently to myself.

24 hours later, I'm functional but a bit sad - finishing a story always leaves me in a bit of a funk. And then, around hour 48, while picking up the pieces of my life that have gotten dusty and/or moldered while I was working, ideas start creeping into my brain.

They look around, measure the windows for treatments and pick their rooms. They invite guests. They make themselves comfortable.

They are rarely new. Most stories I've at least glimpsed before I begin writing. A moment with a character here, a dramatic scene there. Some are already half told, in need of continuation, climax or resolution.

Then begins the outline. This is a frantic period characterized by aching hands and giddy insomnia. Then, around the 96th hour, I begin to write.

It is, I think, hour 96. Again.

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