In today’s world, we often feel a rush to everything. Sometimes, though, it is best to take your time. I was asked the other day why it took so long to write From Under a Tree, ten years to be exact. My quick response was “It’s all about time, isn’t it?”
Yes, I took a lot of time. Over the years I would write passages each month, and there were a couple of years where I did not write a word. It was in those years I thought of things like what a bobbin would look like, what it might do and why, and how groups of creatures would govern themselves. And, of course, to write an epic fantasy you have to develop a history from which the story is born.
So, I would write, and not write; I would think and edit, but not too much editing. I wrote and considered the back-story. I drew maps and even wrote poetry, songs characters might sing. And, I’ve fussed over many things: had I gotten it all right, had I been consistent throughout.
Over the ten years, From Under a Tree has improved. There’s not too much I would change, of course, already having changed many things in the tale. For me, success lies in the skill of those revisions. Writing is rewriting. A story can get better, with sufficient time to set it aside, rethink key passages, connect more dots, build the back-story, and deepen the thematic elements.
One of the best things I ever did was to set From Under a Tree aside to let it cool, before returning to revise with a fresher eye and ear.