Oct 4, 2010

Going the Distance?

I'm taking a moment - right now, as we speak - to breathe in the satisfaction and high of completing a project and not yet thinking it was a pile of steaming fine. Buoyed by this mild intoxication, I've already sketched out an outline for the next book, which as it turns out will be a prequel to the current trilogy. Sometimes, it would seem, you must go back before you can go forward - a concept which certainly seems true in this case. The current outline, however, conservatively estimates things out at a 17 or 18-chapter structure, give or take. The assumption that this remains constant puts this next project as a 70 or 80 thousand word mini-novel.

Though, yes, that's "mini-novel" when it comes to the scifi/fantasy genres. It's almost a satisfactory quantity for an average novel. The plan is to have this available by springtime. The pacing of my books so far still seems very relaxed, though. Morrow Stone was 92,000 words, and I spent a year from start to finish; Reaper's Flight was 126,000 and took around 9 months. Just crunching those numbers, however, book 2 was a vast improvement over book 1. Book 1 would have averaged about 250 words/day, while book 2 would have been double that. It remains to be seen if I can improve on that kind of turnaround.

Granted, I have had days where I've clocked in 8000 words; I've had 15,000+ word weekends. But I've also had 20,000 word weeks that ended in a complete "writer's block". Thanks to my participation in NaNoWriMo the past two years, I no longer fear that sort of thing, though. I know that with the right controlled environment I can knock out words on a daily basis, even if I end up tossing them out later. But it's not crap; I somehow manage stories I still enjoy even after the morning blush has faded. It reminds me of that old rhetorical question of whether or not a particular process were a sprint or a marathon. In this particular one - of being an author - I'm going to go with a marathon.

For example - - the current trilogy is turning into a trilogy plus a prequel, followed by an anthology (or two) and at least one more book just focusing on Favo. Then I have another series in development following a modern supernatural horror concept, as well as another sci fi series which is already sketched out. And there's also the anthology of children's stories. And a smattering of different graphic novel pitches. And... god, there's so much. It's a mighty big whale, and it seems like the "one bite at a time" metaphor is just paling in comparison to this leviathan I see before me.

Will I ever get to write a Spider-man story? And now that JK Rowling is admitting that she'd like to write more Harry Potter, that HP: The College Years is right out. Okay, that last one was only mildly serious.

Sometimes, with all the ideas stretched out across my imagination, it seems faintly overwhelming. Will I live long enough to write all the stories I have in my head? I suppose I better. At some point, too, I'll need to become financially stable enough with the writing to dedicate more time to it and only to it. Working full time as a crisis manager certainly eats up a lot of free time and mental energy.

I should probably talk to other writers, and see how quickly they can churn out projects. Folks I know who write comics - they have monthly deadlines, but the 22 pages of story and dialogue are probably about equal to the chapters I'd need to type for mine, but they incorporate the edits, etc into that time. That process seems both insane and yet... so very ideal.

Okay, I can't tell if trying to crunch these numbers is an effort to schedule myself more efficiently or to distract me from writing. I suppose I should stop letting myself be distracted and get back into it.

Right. Sorted.

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