The Obsessive Compulsive Behavior Called Writing

While slaving away on a new manuscript called The Assassin, the words obsessive compulsive behavior kept popping into my mind. Plots, sub-pots, character conversations and actions, location ideas, timing were consuming both my conscious and unconscious brain. Creating the story became a 24 X 7 obsession.

The idea for the book came about during and then after a radio interview on December 5th. While talking about my favorite character in Forgotten, the interviewer asked a simple question. “Have I ever thought about writing a sequel based on the life of Janet Pulaski?” At the time, I hadn’t but almost immediately, my brain began working. At the time, I just didn’t know how hard! What the interviewer did was unleash a series of thoughts about what and how a second book based on Janet would play out.

At first, I tried to put it on the back burner, but couldn’t. Rationalizing that I already had too many potential books in the queue didn’t quell the urge. The desire to write The Assassin was way to strong. So, on December 24th, I sat down and wrote a two page document outlining how the story might unfold.

The next day, I opened a file and started writing. The words came fast and furious. Every day, I worked on it anywhere from two to six hours a day. When I wasn’t writing, what was and what might be in the manuscript consumed me. Often when writing a new book, I think about the characters or story line when working out and when walking my dogs. Other times, I lock it away in compartment in my brain.

The Assassin was different.  I’d be driving down the highway and my brain would go to a scene that was already written because it needed a change or create a new scene at some future point in the book. Or, I’d be standing in line waiting at a store to check out and out would pop some element of The Assassin. Or, lying in bed at night trying to go to sleep, something about the characters or the plot would make it difficult to go to sleep. Worse, if I made a trip to the bathroom at night, guess what! Thinking and writing The Assassin became a compulsion and I was obsessive about writing the first draft.

What surprised me the most was how fast I finished the first draft. Normally, when asked how long it takes to write a manuscript, my standard answer is “working 4 hours a day, it takes between four to six months.” I finished the first draft of The Assassin in forty, that’s four zero days. Right now, it is sitting on my laptop waiting for the first major edit a process I’ll probably start in a month or so. Do I like the story? Oh yeah!

Marc Liebman

February 2018

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