Be a Masochist, Why Don’t You?

So this segment of my book I’ve been working on has involved a ton of research. The bibliography is already 17 pages long, I still have numerous citations to add, and those 17 pages represent only a fraction of the material I’ve read. Many resources didn’t pan out, and I’m therefore not including them. All told, this segment (which could stand alone as its own book) will be 95 – 100 pages and roughly 40,000 words. And the end is in sight… I have approximately 20 pages left to edit. But to do that, I need to get my arms around the basic principles of Newtonian and quantum physics, black hole thermodynamics, and String Theory.

Yeah, that’s all.

The fact this whole segment is not a requirement for my novel, (the main storyline stands on its own), suggests I’m doing a lot of work for nothing. It’s possible an editor or agent would take one look at it and demand it be cut, but I believe the benefit of this exercise has already been achieved. Because this segment is written from the perspective of a supporting character, the act of completing it has helped me understand that character better. He has motivations and beliefs I wouldn’t have discovered any other way.

I’ve also gained an appreciation for the complexity of fields like Theoretical Physics, and for the “cold” mathematic rationality, child-like curiosity, and creativity that must coexist in minds like those of Einstein, Mandelbrot, and Hawking.  They’re not just brilliant, they are extraordinarily perceptive.

Now that I’m living the life of a writer, the literary tropes make sense. Every book is a labor of love. And you can’t necessarily predict how you’ll arrive at the end, no matter how well-planned and plotted it is at the start; writing is as much a process of discovery as it is production.

So, while studying material waaaaaaay outside my professional expertise may constitute unnecessary suffering, it’s suffering I’ll gladly endure “for the sake of my art.”

Yeah… I always knew I was a glutton for punishment.





2 thoughts on “Be a Masochist, Why Don’t You?

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