Writer’s Block during… Revision?

Last week was a write-off, thanks to some wholly unexpected animal drama. Our family decided to adopt a dog from a rescue shelter nearby. To boil down the entire fiasco into a single sentence: “The dog wasn’t a good fit for our family.” I feel we are mostly recovered from the experience, and towards that end I am back on revising duty.

Which finds me at an interesting point. Writer’s block.

That’s right. Writer’s block. I rarely ever get writer’s block, thanks to my anal-retentive outlining process. But why am I writing in the first place? Ought I not be in the midst of revision? Isn’t revision a process of editing, removing, tightening up, and tying off loose threads?

Largely, yes. However, for my current project, Omnipotence, I’m finding that I’m doing a lot of new content creation. This is due to the fact that I wrote Omnipotence BIG. Five points of view big, to be exact. I knew I would cut an appreciable amount of word count from the first draft, but as I worked through a few fundamental story questions, it occurred to me…

I’m trying to cram a trilogy into one novel.

So after a conversation with my wife, I’ve decided to break apart my original draft into two novels, and then flesh out what was a lacking third act into a third novel. For Omnipotence, this means I’m boiling down the POV count from five to three.

Which also means I need to flesh out the under-realized characters. Hence the new content creation. I find myself currently jack-knifed on the revision highway, holding up creative traffic as I try to pull myself right way forward. I’d like to complain about this, but truth be told, this is kind of fun!

However, I have other projects waiting. The Curse Merchant wants revision, and my next project, a western horror, won’t linger in the darkness for long before it demands attention. So, here’s to muses in tow trucks and a free-flowing creative pipeline!

Omnipotence Excerpt

Today I wanted to post an excerpt from the first draft manuscript of my previous project, Omnipotence.

This passage occurs as three of the Empowered come together for the first time at a meeting with the military to discuss their powers.


Miriam released an excited chirp.

“Hey! Maybe that’s why we can’t make electricity work? None of us understand electricity. And life? Maybe… maybe that’s why we can’t create living things. We don’t get it. We don’t fully understand what makes a living thing alive?”

Glen spoke as Danville broke the point of his pencil, “Hate to crap on your theory, but I was an electrical engineer before the Storm. I do understand electricity, and I still can’t get it to work. I think it’s another limitation.”

Danville shook his head as he clicked more lead from his pencil.

“That implies that this global cataclysm is governed by intelligence.”


“We don’t know that for a fact. We can’t even claim it’s a likelihood.”

Glen countered, “Look… we don’t know where our powers are coming from. We don’t know why we were chosen. We three in particular. It could have been random. But it sure as shit was intentional.”

“How can you be certain, Mr. Porter?”

“Because… we’re being observed.”

Roberto spun on his heel and looked at the back of Glen’s head. He moved slowly back to his seat.

Miriam looked quickly down to the table and studied her hands.

Danville lifted a brow.

“Come again?”

“I came into contact with a being. A creature. It was observing me. I don’t know where it came from or how, but it wasn’t human. It had wings, I think, like a roach. Shiny and black, attached to its body. But the thing kind of looked human-ish.”

Danville dropped his pencil, and picked it up quickly.

“Mr. Porter… I’m at a loss.”

“It was watching me. Just me. I thought it was a looter or something, but when I tried to grab it, the thing, well, it didn’t seem to feel threatened. At all. Not even a little bit. But it was intelligent. It knew I had powers.”

“How… how can you know it had intelligence?”

“Well it spoke English well enough.”

Miriam snapped her head up.

“It spoke to you?”

Danville turned slowly to Miriam.

“Miss Idzi? Have you seen this being, too?”

She nodded sheepishly.

“He didn’t talk, though. He just… watched me.”

Roberto gripped the table, then added, “Me too. Just like you said.”

All eyes turned to him.

“I was surfing. Kind of. He was watching. Didn’t say anything, though.”

Danville slid his clipboard onto the table and leaned back in his chair with a huff.

“You’re telling me… the two of you have had contact with an extraterrestrial being, and you failed to bring this to my attention… why?”

Roberto shrugged.

“Didn’t think anything about it. Lots of weird shit was happening at that particular moment, dude. I was walking on water, for God’s sake. Some weirdo in a black trenchcoat doesn’t really rate.”

Miriam added, “Yeah… I just saw him. I didn’t ‘have contact’. Not like Glen.”

Glen flipped his hand over.

“I was yelling at it. Asking it if it was behind all of this.”

“And?” Danville demanded

“Well, it said it wasn’t here to explain what had happened to us. It said it was just here to observe. So, that’s it. But it didn’t say that it didn’t know. Which means it might.” After a long silence, Glen added with a dry smirk, “I call him Roachman.”

Miriam snickered, “I call him Kafka.”

“Nice!” Glen replied with a laugh.

Danville reached for his clipboard and muttered, “Can we focus, people? This is probably the most significant development in the last two months. It bears exploration.”

Roberto cracked his knuckles.

“Like the most important thing, right?”


“The most important thing about Mr. Kafka Roachman.”

The others stared blankly at him.

Roberto continued, “He ain’t here. He’s not watching us right now. So what does that tell you?”

Glen nodded.

“It tells us that he’s watching someone else.”

Miriam continued, “There’s others.”

Roberto pointed at her.


Danville gave the airman taking notes a tap on the shoulder, and stood up.

“Find the Secretary of Defense.”


Revision Project: Omnipotence

Today, I thought I would take a step back and mention my previous manuscript project, Omnipotence. I completed the first draft in February, and it is sitting to age while I work on my current project, after which I will take up the red pen and bloody it to death!

Here’s the pitch:

“After a global cataclysm wipes out all technology on Earth, five strangers across America discover they have been endowed with god-like abilities, and must learn how to deal with their powers… and each other.”

Omnipotence begins by following the events of a sudden unexplained natural disaster, as seen from the eyes of five different characters from differing walks of life. Their stories begin to converge as the novel progresses, and the characters react in distinct ways to being granted omnipotence.  Their exploration leads them to test the limits of their powers, and when human frailty is given the ultimate challenge, some choose the service of their fellow man… others, unspeakable evil.

Though the first draft is complete, it is still very much a work in progress. The greatest challenge to this novel is in keeping so many POV’s alive, in balance, and interesting for the reader. Though I have entertained the notion of whittling down the scope of the story to a single POV, I continually return to the original premise… how do people respond to absolute power? I find the exploration of the five Empowered to be the soul of the story.

The tone of Omnipotence is somewhat grim, set in an America which has been suddenly and violently plunged back into an eighteenth century level of technology. The landscape is wrought with panic and the devastation of an entire society which has forgotten how to survive without electricity. All the more, therefore, that the people look to the Empowered for help.

All the more they feel betrayed when the Empowered prove to be human after all.