What is like summoning a demon?
Why, writing, of course.
Bear with me here. This isn't going to be a post about inner demons or psychological torment or anything like that. I just accidentally came up with a writing metaphor the other day, and you know how I love writing metaphors. And I thought it was fun, so I'm going to share. WHETHER YOU WANT ME TO OR NOT.
Writing a novel is like summoning a demon. You (the sorcerer), in attempting to call it forth, must bend it to your will and force it to take physical form. It exists in another plane of being, where it is a creature of boundless energy, a being of pure light or maybe pure darkness, lightning or fire or will. Maybe it shapeshifts as fluidly as dreams, maybe it fills the entire sky with its magnificence and creatures drop to their knees to worship it. In its true form, in its plane of origin, it is a thing of extraordinary power, not constricted or restricted by the bounds of corporeality.
But to live here, to come here and do your bidding, it has to have a body. Lungs, a mouth, eyes, hands. Legs. All the bits, in all the right places. It will hate this. It will resist. The thing you are turning it into is ... clumsy. It pinches, it can't fly. It no longer fills the entire sky with its crackling lightning. Why would it want to come here and be your slave, when before it was an ethereal being of terrible power and beauty?
That's the book, of course. Its plane of origin is your mind, and in summoning it to the page it can feel like this, like you are flattening it into a two-dimensional thing that just loses so much of the beauty you dreamt into it to begin with. No matter. Make it this promise: you will improve it. You will render it into the most beautiful and compelling and fascinating book that you have it in you to create, and then you will take a deep breathe and make it even more beautiful and compelling and fascinating, until both it and you are satisfied. And then you'll order a pizza.
Summoning demons makes you hungry!
Now, back to my demon, who is partly translated into flesh and still partly a sky-filling god in the realm of my head. Onward!
Oh, and this:
"The only way [the book can be written] is to set the unbook – the gilt-framed portrait of the book – right there on the altar and sacrifice it, truly sacrifice it. Only then may the book, the real life flawed finite book, slowly, sentence by carnal sentence, appear." -- Bonnie Friedman