2017 turned out to be a very peculiar year. To cut a long story short, I got cancer; I got rid of cancer, now I’m recovering from the cure.
In terms of writing the whole year has almost been a write-off, but I’m not dead so I’m not complaining.
Amid the crippling fatigue, insomnia, nausea, inability to concentrate and confusion (scratch that last one, that’s nothing new) I have managed to battle my way to the end of the second draft of a whole new book. Not the next instalment of Jack Canner’s adventures, but a stand alone sci-fi horror.
I now have an interesting writing decision to make. Do I carry on and complete this new book before doing anything else. Or do I leave it for a while to mellow and instead write the first draft of another new book and return to the other later?
It’s a split decision, one or the other; they both have lots going for them.
I have been sitting on my current Work In Progress for longer than I usually do, mainly due to not being able to string five words together for the past year, so it feels a little stale. Writing something completely different for three months would do the trick, I’m sure. After such a break I could return to my old project with renewed vigour. However, there is a lot to be said for persevering with a project until it done, wiping the slate clean and starting something fresh.
The other slight complication with starting the new project is that the book would link to others and I’d have to plan them all in detail before breaking ground on the first. To some this will sound daunting, outlining three stories and figuring out how they overlap, but I think it sounds like fun, in a mind-bending sort of way, but then I am a glutton for punishment, a literary red shirt. Also if I start a new project I could have both books published close together in the second half of the year, like I did with my first two, and I like the sound of that, a symmetry that appeals to my mild OCD.
While waffling at this post, I think I’ve managed to convince myself to start a fresh WIP. I quite like the idea of taking a break from the current WIP and coming back to it later with a refreshed perspective. In the long run I’m sure that will be better for the book and me and the other me, well, it will shut him up for a while.
What’s next with the blog? Well, assuming improving health throughout 2018 and not a relapse, I hope to blog more regularly, see if I can get into the habit. Also, I’ve decided to dispense with the categories of blog posts I was using, they only seemed to be getting in the way and not contributing much. So from now on, I’m going to blog whatever comes to mind, regardless of how it fits in. Hopefully this will feel less restrictive and allow me to be more spontaneous, while still making some kind of sense.
Time will tell. If last year proved anything to me it’s that you never know what’s around the corner.
The time has finally come to begin the second draft of book two. How do I know? The pressure, I feel like an overheating boiler, all vibrating rivets and whistling jets of escaping steam, because the book is taking up more and more of my thinking time, becoming more distracting by the day. I feel like my hat is on too tight. The more I try to avoid it and think about something else, the worse it gets, I can’t stop thinking about it. I can’t wait to tear into it. That’s how I know I’m ready. It’s not because I think it’s about time, or that my schedule says so, it’s because I can’t do anything else, I don’t want to work on any other project. Even writing this is tougher than it should be.
Along with the pressure is a sense of heightened anticipation. This is an exciting time, because I’m going to get to read the book properly, cover to cover, for the first time, as if I’m my own first reader. Of course, it’s not quite the same experience because I remember how the story goes and how it ends and I think I remember all the twists, I certainly remember the most memorable scenes. But that’s not the point, whenever I do this, and I’ve done it a few times now, there is genuine anxiety mixed in with the excitement. There is always the danger the book is not as good as I remember, or worse, I’ll discover I’ve been kidding myself and I really can’t write all.
There are two things I need to do. Number one, make the book better. I’ve done this before with other projects, and it mainly involves cutting a lot out and clarifying what’s left. Number two, is take note of were book two overlaps book one, so I can tie the two together. I’ve never written a sequel before, so this is something new, and right now I don’t know how it’s going to work. My initial idea is, as I go through book two, to write down every fact (to check against the first book), everything I want to foreshadow, every linked plot point. Then, once I have that list, use it to go through book one. It might work or I might find a better way, I’ll have to see.
I thought it might be fun to post my progress on twitter. Partly to give my reader something to look at, but also a way of maintaining my own momentum, just as it’s easier to keep going to the gym with a buddy, it must be easier to keep going with someone following me. Well, that’s the theory anyway.