Sunday, October 07, 2007

Deeper Levels of Trust

Saturday, October 6 ~ Santa Fe, New Mexico

I'm at The Ark bookstore reading from my novel The MoonQuest as part of the Santa Fe Short Story Festival.

"When's the sequel coming out?" someone asks.

When, indeed?

I've been so focused on getting The MoonQuest out into the world and completing The Voice of the Muse: Answering the Call to Write that I haven't given a lot of thought to The StarQuest.

It's not that I haven't begun writing The StarQuest. I've begun it twice.

Unlike The MoonQuest, though, whose first two drafts each took me less than a year to write, The StarQuest, which has no completed drafts, has been in my life for more than nine years.

When, indeed?

That the question was asked by someone named Ben is significant. There's a Ben in The StarQuest. He's the main character's son. And he's the main character in The SunQuest, the final book of this projected trilogy.

It's almost as though the character himself leapt off the page to find out when I plan to complete his story.

When, indeed?

With The MoonQuest, I rarely knew from one day to the next — some days, from one word to the next — where the story was taking me. It was frustrating, stressful and scary to be forced to live moment-to-moment, word-by-word, in trust that the story would ultimately reveal itself.

It did, of course. In its time, not mine.

As I ponder Ben's question, I realize that what has held me back from completing The StarQuest is a deeper level of the same trust The MoonQuest demanded of me. By this point in The MoonQuest, in terms of page count, I had a sense of what the story was about. Not a complete sense, but enough to keep me going.

The StarQuest has yet to similarly reveal itself, and I realize now that I have not trusted it enough to continue.

I was ready to trust The StarQuest only to the extent that I had trusted The MoonQuest. Where's the growth in that?

In writing as in life, we're constantly being pushed to have more faith, to trust more fully, to surrender more completely. It's true for Toshar, The MoonQuest's protagonist. It's true for Q'nta, The StarQuest's protagonist. No doubt, it will be true for Ben as well, when I get to The SunQuest.

Meantime, it's certainly true for me -- in my writing as in my life.

I still can't answer Ben's question, but I can commit to whatever level of trust my stories (and his) are asking of me. And I do.

While you're waiting for me to finish The StarQuest, check out The MoonQuest.

It's a five-star selection on and a story the
Midwest Book Review calls "an evocative and emotionally moving tale of adventure." The Mindquest Review of Books calls it "an exceptional, timeless novel."

The MoonQuest makes a great gift for the holidays! (Find out where to buy it and read/hear excerpts at


Anonymous said...

If your characters are like mine, they already know the story that they need to tell you. Ask them to talk to you, and they almost certainly will.

When I was stuck on one of my novels, I asked the characters to start talking to me -- just opened up a blank screen and let them start talking. One of them went on for nearly 10,000 words, much of which I may not even be able to use in the book. It does, however, explain a great deal about what motivates him, and that will definitely be in the book.

The books are there. The characters are there. They have faith in you, too. It's amazing how far that will take you.

Hugs from Tristan

mark David Gerson said...

Hi there, Tristan,

Thanks for the suggestion. It's a technique I already used with The MoonQuest (and describe in The Voice of the Muse)....though not with such prolific results!

Thanks too for the vote of support,

Mark David

sydney molare said...

Loving the rules for living! Syd

mizging said...

Your book sounds interesting. I'll have to check it out as soon as get through the folder of Works-In-Progress that I still have waiting for me. I have to stop these ideas that pop into my mind for new stories. :)

I think it's every author's dream to have someone anxiously waiting for your next publication. I think I have one fan like that, at least. My Mom. *lol*

Hope you'll visit my blog and check out my world of lunacy:

Very nice blog you have!

Vicky DeCoster said...

Ahhh, you live in New Mexico - my dream state! What inspiration you must receive from all the beautiful scenery. In Nebraska, all we have gorgeous cornfields and a really, really, really bad football team. You must be so jealous. Keep up the wonderful writing!

Kindest regards,
Vicky DeCoster

Carolyn Howard-Johnson said...

Mark, loved your comment on my blog. I, too, take a less stringent view of perfect grammar (yes, I'm an editor). A class in linguistics started what some consider my downslide and the more I researched for The Frugal Editor, the more convinced I became that so many things are style choices. Still, I had to get the book out there because zero-tolerance editing is what helps us get our manuscripts read. Thus, we gotta know it! (-;
Hope to hear from you again.
Love your blog. You birthday image is just too cute.
Carolyn Howard-Johnson

Carolyn Howard-Johnson said...

Hi! I just left a message on your publisher's site. I'd love to cross-promote with you when your book is released--in its pristine, well-edited shape, of course! (-;
Reach me a
And good luck.
And congratulations.

Hal said...

Thanks for the connection Mark David. Your adventures give birth to moments in the now. What a wonderful way to express your source in physical form.

Thursday said...

I've really found that each writing project requires a different commitment from the author -- I've had books that just flowed out, and short stories that took months to get the kinks out of.

But it sounds like you're persevering, and that's really what seems to be necessary.

Good luck on your project!