Sunday, September 14, 2014

A new world

Recently I wrapped up the Magic Born series after three years of working on it. The last book of the trilogy, Firewall, won't be out until December, but all of the writing and editing is completed. All that's left is promo for that final book when it's released. So it's been a while since I started something completely new. It feels like starting all over again, in more ways than one.

After twelve novels and novellas, I've learned some things about my writing process. There are certain things that seem to be part of the process every time. For instance, at around the ten thousand word mark I always wind up stopping briefly to work up a detailed outline. Then around the twenty thousand word mark, I have to stop or at least slow way down and work all the doubt out of my system. There's always plenty of doubt. Doubt about the story, the plot and characters. Doubt about my ability as a writer and that I'll be able to do justice to my ideas and my hopes for the story. Doubt that anyone will want to publish and read it. When I say I have to work all that doubt out of my system, what I really mean is I have to push past it, because the doubts never really go away. By the time I get to thirty thousand words, I've got a book on my hands and it takes a lot to slow me down past that point.

What I've also learned is that every book is different in some ways. Starting a new manuscript can feel like learning to write all over again. Immersing yourself in a new world can be a lot of fun, but there can be a lot of wrong turns, too. That initial period of discovery and exploration, as you map out the plot and develop the characters and dive into research, is both exhilarating and a little scary. Sometimes it takes some heavy focus to fully get your head out of the old world of a previous series and into the new. Just getting back into the routine of daily word count can be tough at first. I'll have weeks of managing only 500 words one day, then 1500 the next, only to not get any other day. It takes time for the story to get rolling and to settle back into a routine. Once things gel, I tend to get between 1200 and 1700 words a day.

Mostly I'm having fun as I work on something totally new. My head was primarily in the Magic Born world for three years. Learning my way around a new world is exciting. Right now I'm at that twenty thousand words and all the doubt stage. Even so, it feels really good to be developing a new world for a new story, with new characters and different rules for the paranormal aspects. For me personally, it’s the best time of year to be starting a new manuscript. Autumn is my favorite time of year. Everything about it is inspiring to me. As the temperature cools and the nights lengthen, I can feel my creative energy on the rise and my excitement about this new story begins to trump all the doubts and fears.

Add a little pumpkin spice to my coffee, and I should have a brand new book in no time!


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