Author’s Note: Authoricus Mushbrainius

Last month, I said I was going to write about editors. And my current editor here at Geeking Out About…, Trisha Lynn, asked me to write about query letters soon, too. My plan was to write about editors this month, and query letters next month, and it all seemed perfect because I just finished the rough draft of my new book so editors and query letters are on my mind.

Sitting on my desktop, I have two columns half finished, both on editors. But something happened this month that has derailed my ability to write about them. Actually, it’s derailed my ability to form a cohesive sentence.

“*Gasp!*” I hear you cry. (Or something like that; work with me, here.) “JB! You’re pregnant!”

Uh, no. Nor am I getting married, moving, bankrupt, or any other life-changing thing that would fry my poor little brain. No, the problem that has me stalled is this: I just finished the rough draft of my new novel.

My brain is toast, people.

The rough draft is filled with lovely little notes like:

Should have told her [her? is the doc male or female?] about the delusions.

I am not a detail oriented person. I have a sketchbook full of little notes like the colors of my protagonist’s eyes and the name of the bar that the hero owns. While attempting to help me think of a title, my steady, Quin, asked me, “What’s the name of his bar?” My answer to that was to laugh, slightly maniacally, and jot a note to myself: [make sure that if I’ve given the bar a name, it’s consistent throughout.]

Now, I’m sure the impending holidays and travel aren’t helping my brain-addled state, but I recognize this particular form of brain-mush. It’s definitely the post-book mush. It’s like my poor little gray matter has been wrung dry, and all it’s capable of now is fact-checking and making sure my protagonist’s hair stays the same color throughout the book. (It’s brown… I think.) [Note to self: double check Mike’s hair color.]

I swear, at this point my whole life needs notes like this. And the worst part is, I’ll think I’m doing just fine, going along in my day, and then I have to think of something creative. Something new. Something innovative. All that pops into my head is the sound of Robin William’s maniacal laughter from a comedic monologue about knowing you’re an alcoholic when… Or maybe the sound of my brain forming a union, saying it’s going to hold back the creative bits of me because everyone needs a break, damn it! We want the same time off the other bits of the brain get!

…What was I talking about? [Note to self: read from the top and make sure this column makes sense.]

I’ve spoken with other authors who say the same thing happens to them. It’s like one moment you’re writing a novel, and the creativity is (more or less) flowing along, and then there’s a musical crescendo and it wraps up and ends and you sit back and go, “Ahhh! Done!” And your brain goes, “Thank GOD,” and everything stops. There’s a little party going on in my head, but I’m not invited. The rest of my functioning neurons, however, have vacated the premises and are getting rapidly drunk. I think this must be how CEOs feel after they complete a big business deal.

The worst part is when people ask me about my novel, and I can only stare at them blankly thinking, Okay, I can do this. It’s about werewolves… and there’s several important characters… and it’s a romance… Why is this person looking at me so oddly? How long has this silence dragged on? Oh shit! I’ve been speaking out loud! Quick, say something witty! Of course, then I just start laughing because the inanity quotient is so high at that point that there’s simply nothing else to do.

There is, thankfully, some good that comes of this brain-mush. For instance, no one who meets me is ever intimidated because I’m an author when I can barely string together a sentences with correct verbiage. Also, it does mean that, hey, I completed a new novel!

Sometimes the giddiness of finishing a new novel catches me unawares, and I start giggling. Then I think I want to start plotting the next in the series, only to realize that I can’t remember anyone’s names to use in my plot. So I sit and giggle and tap my fingertips together, wracking my brain to try and remember What’s-His-Face, the orphaned guy, and was I going to kidnap him or his girlfriend? Oh, wait, no one was getting kidnapped, that was an idea I scrapped forever ago.

For reasons that I hope are obvious to more than me in my brain-mushed state, plotting doesn’t get very far, but it does keep me entertained for hours at a time. Like a kitten with a ball of string. About that much thinking power, too.

There should really be a name for this condition. Something like “Authoricus Mushbrainius”. Then when I get pulled over for driving like a loon, I could say, “I’m sorry, officer, I have Authoricus Mushbrainius.” And then the officer could commit me, where I would be out of the way of everyone until I’d come back to my senses and start plotting murder, mayhem, and torture again. Perfectly sane past times.

You see what I’m talking about? I actually think this is funny. (Authoricus mushbrainius. Ah, I crack myself up! Who doesn’t like a bit of faux-Latin? Faux-Latin makes everything better. Sometimes I think people who write television shows about medical problems do so just so they can create faux-Latin and see who catches it. At least, I’d do that.) (This is why I should be kept away from television shows.) [Note to self: see if there’s a place to put hilarious faux-Latin in the next book.] [Note to self: in fact, just create a character who likes to use it. Mwahahahahahaha!]

In the tragic state of Authoricus Mushbrainius, the eyes begin to itch, the head feels heavy, energy levels drop only when the sufferer is asked to do something thoughtful or creative, and there is a disturbing tendency to stare off into space. This affliction strikes at the end of a large project, when the sufferer believes they’re at their peak of creativity and are ready to go on to the next brilliant creative thing. Treatment includes rest, removal of all computers, and hours upon hours of reading books that require no thought and watching television that requires one pays attention only every ten minutes or so.

[Note to self: I’m really glad other authors do this, too. At least I don’t feel quite so insane.] [Note to self: how, exactly, did the notes become the column?] [Note to self: step away from the computer…] [Note to self: ooh, look! String!]

Posted on December 21, 2010 at 21:45 by JB McDonald · Permalink
In: Columns · Tagged with: , , ,