Shaking Off the Writing Cobwebs

I posted this on Twitter and Facebook the other day, but in case you missed it, I just finished the second draft of MAGIC AT 30,000 FEET. It took a bit longer than I anticipated, but January was a rough month for me, so I’m giving myself a pass. What this means is that for the first time in a long time, I can actually work on new material. How long has it been?

Doing some quick math, it looks like the answer is almost 9 months. 9 months!

What in the world have I been doing over those nine months? I revised OUR LADY twice, MEMORY THIEF twice, BOOKBINDER’S CURSE once, and MAGIC AT 30,000 FEET once, for starters. Some of those were fairly extensive revisions. In addition, my trip to Europe gobbled up writing time, as did the holidays and then the hectic January conference and funeral. I worked on a couple of short pieces, which is something. Still, I’m quite surprised that it’s been that long since I was breaking new ground on a book.

So it’s high time I got back in the saddle. The good news? Some of that time was also devoted to plotting out my next novel, and I already have it mapped out and ready to write. I’m going to call it UTOPIA for now, though that won’t be the final name when I’m finished. What’s it about? Science-fiction, for one thing. I’m kind of picturing it as a YA Clockwork Orange, but with more sci-fi elements. That still doesn’t capture a lot of what’s at work in the book, but it gives you a taste.

The trick? Nine months is a long time to go without writing new stuff, and I’ve got to work against Newton’s First Law to get this party started. Sometimes nothing feels more daunting than a blank screen, with that little cursor blinking merrily away as you wonder how in the world you’re going to do everything you need to do to get the book off to a bang.

My solution? I start writing about not know what to write about. Anything to get the words flowing onto the page. I’ll free write about the problem, which inevitably gets me brainstorming solutions, and I do that until I get really excited about one of those solutions, and after that, I’m pumped to write and off and running. Yesterday’s free write gave my character a pet mouse that’s got me pretty pleased. It’s a good thing. This character isn’t the world’s nicest person, so he needed something to make people relate to him.

Anyway. That’s where I am now. I don’t envision any interruptions to this. My revisions are all in order. MEMORY THIEF is on track. It’s time to get those fingers flying at 1,000 words a day. My guess would be this book clocks in around 75,000 words, which means 12.5 weeks from now, I should be about finishing up. End of April? (I take Sundays off, so it’s just 6,000 words per week.) That seems like a good goal. I’ll be feeling pretty good if I can get that done.

Wish me luck!

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