Fortunately, I didn’t see any of the advice until I was already well on my own path. It was sage advice — I didn’t follow any of it.

For reasons I won’t go into now, I was writing in secret, so no sacred space and no writing to the clock. Like a fool, I had risen to the challenge of writing a novel in a month. My writing was a voyage of discovery, so there was no plot outline. All the way through, I was taken by surprise by plot developments. Since it turned out that much of the action took place in 1654, I researched dozens of documents and newspaper reports, sometimes even checking the weather and the timing of eclipses, leaving words-per-day lagging at well under 500. I never experienced writers block or a lack of creative ideas, the research was a constant source of surprises and inspiration — no special background music required.

But…it was a new and unique experience, and I loved doing it. I became attached to all my characters, the ones from present day Michigan and the ones from the 17th Century. The kids, teens, adults and their struggles… the remarkable and unexpected things that connected them through time and space in spite of their cultural differences, and all the surprises along the way. The themes of drowning and rescue, desperation and kindness played out against the turning of the Earth around the Sun, and the scarcely noticeable procession of the Sun around the outer reaches of the Milky Way.

Inspiration is indistinguishable from magic. I had only to open my mind, and the lives of my characters, each behaving in their own way, flowed in. They were able to interact with real historical people and events. Where does it all come from?

At the end of November, my novel had fewer than 12,000 words. Since then it has doubled, but now it’s too long for a short story, and too short to qualify as a novel. I have no idea what I’m supposed to do with the finished story. But keep your eyes open for ‘Earth Is My Favrit Planet.’

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