I’m still learning my own process. I write better after 10 p.m., I think, the opposite of my early-bird husband. It’s not really surprising. It takes me a few hours and a venti Earl Grey to really wake up. The last time I wrote a book was the summer after tenth grade. Back then I’d write for hours after everyone else in the house went to bed, then stumble upstairs past our alarm-cat, trying to avoid her pounce, not wanting to wake my little sisters with the hall light.
In an ideal world, I’d write from 10 or 11 until 3 every morning and then sleep until noon. I do that a lot on weekends. I love how quiet the city is at night. I curl up on the big, cat-scratched beige chair in my writing room, sipping peppermint tea. The only noise in the house is the click of my fingers on the keys. Outside, the chirp of crickets and rustling of leaves have won out over the wailing sirens and roaring traffic. The cool night air is seasonally appropriate. Invigorating. I can breathe again.
I just finished switching Chapter Five from third-past to first-present. Molly’s about to introduce her parents to her new friend from a perpendicular dimension who may or may not be a witch or a terrorist. The next chapter—the bonfire with the exiled artists—is one of my favorites, and I’m excited to redo it. After fourteen months, I still love my characters and my story, even though there are lots of difficult, doubtful moments. I think that’s a good sign.
I’ve definitively decided to switch tenses. It feels right. It’s also really scary. I write better in third-past. I’m used to it. I have a better grasp on how to make it flow, on how to intersperse dialogue with description. First-present feels choppy and awkward in comparison. But I love uncovering Molly’s voice. I thought I knew her pretty well before, but I’m learning so much now, and I think the story is coming alive in new ways because of the little details and insights that weren’t there before.
So I will work at it. I will get better.
On nights like this, it feels like a treat.