In the course of researching the mid-Miocene, I queried a lot of scientists who have knowledge of the epoch. One of them said this to me,
Your project is huge and will require some real scholarship in the library and the field.”
So what was the hardest part of writing Opalescence? Believe it or not, it wasn’t the research. Yes, that was difficult. I had to dig up facts about a narrow time slice in Earth history, and find what flora and fauna existed then, and where. I had to discover what else was going on at the time. I had to tie it all together. Still, the research was not the hardest part.
Then there was the actual writing of the book, all 540 or so pages of it. That, too, took a lot of time and concentration. Actually though, the writing was by far the most enjoyable part of the whole experience. I would close the curtains, turn on evocative music and let my mind roam. I used my many research notes here. But again, this was not the hardest part.
Besides wrestling with the formatting and publishing end of it, by far the hardest and longest part of writing Opalescence was the editing, the re-reading and fixing of errors. And even when you’ve done it many times you can still find more. Eventually you have to stop. No wonder editors get big bucks (not that I’m defending the gouging that some of them do). Thank goodness I had a great editor, Lynn Steiner*, my college english teacher, to help me!
Actually, can I amend that a bit? While all of the above is true, perhaps that hardest part was doing everything while on dialup. Dialup: almost as fast as watching grass grow. You click to load a page, then you go have lunch.
Anyway, like any big project, once you’re done, there is a feeling of satisfaction that makes it all worthwhile.
* In the back of the book I acknowledge those who helped me bring it to fruition. I should mention, though, others who also helped in their own way. There is the great indie writer’s site, Smashwords. Mark Coker is the creator of this wonderful resource. But not only the site itself, Smashwords’ support staff was excellent in answering my questions with aplomb. I also want to acknowledge the support people at Amazon.com for the same reasons. To them, a special “Thank You”.