As of last night, I’ve reached 258-pages of notes for the next book, 24 pages into the second notebook. So here’s the question:

How many pages does it take to reach Critical Mass?

Critical Mass is that condition I’ve written about often in these electronic pages; the place at which the characters and the story are powered-up enough to move on their own; the place at which they won’t sit still any longer. The point at which they ask. And demand.

One waits to be propelled into the work—compelled by it. One wants to be pestered by it. Possessed by it. At that point, all other considerations become insignificant. Don’t have all the plot-points worked out? Yeah–so? Don’t have a clue how the thing will end? Phooey. Having shaking doubts about parts of it? Feh—what’s the problem?

My notoriously-revisionist memory of the previous book tells me that, yep, I had almost two full notebooks before I actually ever wrote a word; the go-for-it point at which Critical Mass set fire to me and burned most of my worries away.

Yet, being notoriously revisionist, my memory says “wellll, maybe…..”

I start to feel that moment lurking as the second notebook gets (figuratively) heavier in the hand. Where the quality of the handwriting goes from neat, respectful and precise to the scrawl of a hand frantically trying to keep up with the ideas. Where the loss of the newly-weighty notebook would probably worse than losing a limb (neither would have the least possibility of growing back.)

It’s a moment that finds its own time. And it’s not on the same schedule I am.

And so, a note of anguished appeal to the Writers’ Spirit out there: Please shoot me out of the cannon at your earliest convenience. I have a wild need to sail through the air….

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