Ghost of Mark Twain here ...
I'm here to help Roland out a mite. The trouble with his posts?
They're too dang long!
By the time I get to Point #17 I've done forgot the first five!
Roland, take notes, son. Here is how it is done ...
There was never a time in the last 40 years I wrote
when my literary shipyard hadn't two or more unfinished ships on the way, neglected and baking in the sun.
This has an unbusinesslike look, but it was not purposeless. It was intentional.
As long as a book would write itself, I was a faithful suitor, and my industry did not flag.
But the minute the book tried to shift to my head the contrivings of its situations,
inventing its adventures,
and conducting its conversations,
I put it away and dropped it out of my mind.
It was by accident that I discovered that a book is pretty sure to get tired about its middle
and refuse to go on until its powers and its interest should have been refreshed by a rest
and its depleted stock of raw materials reinforced by a lapse of time.
When I reached the middle of TOM SAWYER, I could not understand why I could not go on with it.
The reason was simple:
My tank had run dry. It was empty; the stock of material in it exhausted.
The story could not go on without materials. It could not be wrought out of nothing.
When the manuscript had lain in a pigeonhole for two years, I took it out one day and read the last chapter I had written.
It was then that I made the great discovery that when the tank runs dry, you've only to leave it alone for a spell ...
even for so small a time as a good night's sleep to awaken to discover your tank has filled while you dreamed.
See, children? A short post but you still learned something important.
But be kind to Roland. He ain't achieved ghosthood yet.