I confess, I’m not a good person to have as your driver on vacation. Yes, I’m safe, aware, and involved, but I’m also goal oriented. I’m driving for that destination. Stop to look at the view? That’ll slow us down. Eat? What? You have to pee? Are you kidding me?
Yes, once I put a goal into place, it’s hard to abandon. It’s true with my driving and my writing. What is a strength is also a problem.
I’m debating about a sixth book in the Incomplete States series. (The working title, The Final Time, came to me as soon as part of the brainstorm that inundated me last night.) It’s a logical decision to me, as though I’m in control of the whole thing. Yes, and no, of course.
First, I acknowledge, I’m a little sick of working on the series, sick in the sense that I need a time-out. Sick, as in the sense that I was eager to work on something different. I have a goal in mind, and I’m almost there. I don’t want to turn away from that goal. I see and understand that about myself.
I thought that maybe I could compromise with myself and my muses. I will write some on the side, maybe, maybe not, we’ll see (he said, hedging his commitment), and continue editing full-time. Yes, that sounds like a good compromise.
Yes, I’m pretty stupid at times, thinking that it’s all about logic, control, and goals.
That’s not it at all.
I forgot that I write for myself. I write for myself in the sense that I am my number one fan, and my number one reader. I write for myself because I want to know what I think. I want to know the story. To now think of the story and try to apply the brakes is ridiculous. I want to explore it; I want to know.
That means I must write it.
That might all fizzle out, of course. Perhaps as I begin exploring it, the story will peter out. I’ll conclude, there’s not anything more to write and learn here. I might write some and realize, well, this is really just part of the last book.
I don’t know. It’s foolish to waste time contemplating what might happen or whether I have a decision to make. I’m a writer, and must write, and then I’ll decide what to do with it.
My coffee is at hand. Time to write and edit like crazy, at least one more time.
I wrote five books (originally four) for my latest work in process.
I began work on this series in July, 2016. It was originally one book in concept, but what did I know? Eventually, it became four books. Then I felt it necessary to split the original final book into two books because it was over six hundred pages and three hundred thousand words. In an amusing aside, twenty-five documents were created to develop the five books, with well over a million words.
I considered the first take on the entire series to be a beta draft because the novels’ story lines were so interwoven. While written one at a time, I often edited and revised the previous books as I learned the story.
Now I’m editing the fourth book, creating a true first draft of the Incomplete States series by clarifying that story. Once the first draft is finished, another draft will be required to ensure that the same story is being told in the series’ five books (Four on Kyrios, Entangled LEREs, Six (with Seven), A Sense of Time, and An Undying Quest). Then comes another draft to sharpen and polish, and then it goes to the editors for their input.
I’d expected to have the series’ first draft completed by Thanksgiving, but my error (not saving a backup) set me back (lesson learned). I now have December twenty-first as my target date for completion. It’s not unreasonable, as long as I don’t do anything stupid.
Meanwhile, it is fun to read my creation. I’m enjoying myself. My writing /editing time is a sanctuary from existence’s frustration, pain, and weariness.
Time to edit and write like crazy at least one more time.
I finished editing and revising the beta version of Six (with Seven) today. That’s Book Three of the Incomplete States series. I began editing and revising it on September 24 of this year, so my editing and revising process has kept going at a decent pass.
The editing and revising process was draining, requiring most of my mental energy. Not surprising, as editing and revising your work forces you to confront weaknesses and doubts. I know that it’s made me more of pain in the ass to live with than usual. Although there are chapters that leave me a little wary, I feel good about the book and project. Part of that is the simple satisfaction of completing another step in the project, but there’s also the element that I’m satisfied as a reader that the writer wrote a decent tale. I was also pleased because some of my worries and fears were allayed. I kept thinking as I edited and revised the book that I needed to do more to clarify matters and tie together the disparate story lines. Then I discovered that hurrah, I did that when I wrote, edited and revised it back when it was the subject of my focus.
The chapters that leave me wary will confuse some readers. They’ll require close reading to follow them, patience, intelligence, and an open mind. So, do I dilute them to reduce those challenges, or leave them? I left them as is for now, as that feels right. This, of course, was the first go in editing and revising, so that can change in one of the next go-arounds.
Of course, the readers can skip these chapters and go on to the final two chapters, which strain the mud out.
I like how Six (with Seven) ends, moving the series’ stories forward, clarifying more, and setting up Book Four, An Undying Quest. I also have more appreciation for the title, Six (with Seven). It’s more whimsical and cleverer than I first realized. I’m not being immodest, but recognize that a lot of these decisions have subconscious insights going on that I don’t appreciate at first.
With three hundred twenty-two pages in Word and less than eighty thousand words, Six (with Seven) remains a slender book in my general pantheon of fiction writing.
Tomorrow, I begin editing and revising Book Four, An Undying Quest. Once it’s completed, I’ll have a first draft of all four. With some hope and luck, it’ll all make sense and flow together to a decent ending.
Now, the coffee is gone. Time to go for a walk, have lunch, do some yardwork, and maybe have a beer to celebrate.