Finishing a novel means saying goodbye to characters, places, and adventures I’ve invested time and effort in creating, and a sense of loss accompanies their departure. However, this rarely happens till after the book is published. In early March, as I came to the end of the first draft of Book Three of my urban fantasy trilogy, I was surprised to be experiencing a degree of sadness, though this journey wasn't yet on the home stretch.
I had settled on a title, but discovered the one I'd chosen appears on several books already...so back to scratch. And without doubt, I have several painstaking edits to complete before a version is ready to send to a professional editor, plus the cover, and formatting to organize before I say adios. Yet, after two and a half years with Tatya, Vanse, Forked Lightning, and not forgetting Angelus, whose evil scheming knows no bounds, part of me already laments their upcoming departure from my internal landscape.
A Lightbulb Moment
I’ve found the best way to deal with this phase is to throw myself into writing something else straight away. While resting the previous books in the series, I’ve worked on a science-fiction nano novel written a few years ago, and this is about seventy-five percent finished. As I prepared to continue with this book, an idea I’ve been nursing for a while burst, more or less fully formed, into my head. The seed came from a business sign I'd noticed one day, and the instant I saw it something sparked in my brain, and every time I passed that way, I'd think about what kind of story this could be. Before I could start on the sci-fi revisions, a flood of potential images and ideas flashed through my mind about a new novel stemming from that sign - in the detective/mystery genre. Maybe I could write a novella? Three 20-25,000 word novellas could perhaps be published later in a single volume?
With the WIP laid to rest, I took a deep breath and plunged into an exciting new world. Five weeks later, I'm trying hard not to feel too smug, because I've completed the first draft of a novella. Yes, it’s more minimal than usual, because I wasn’t sure how many words I’d have to play with to stay within my target, but it currently lies resting snugly side by side with the WIP. I'll spend what’s left of my scheduled break with my older sci-fi friends,
Suddenly I feel like one of those TV chefs who have half a dozen pots on the boil, rushing from one to the other in a manic frenzy of chopping, stirring, and flinging spices into bubbling concoctions. But there the comparison ends, because I’ve no guarantee of producing a story readers will like, although the chefs always seem to serve an acceptable gourmet meal when they’re finished. But still, I live in hope, and the more I practice my craft… at least in theory… the better my stories should be!
I’m the first to admit I find it difficult to achieve the basic mind set needed for the marketing that an authorpreneur ought to do, and a dim light is slowly dawning that neither good intentions nor will power are enough to achieve my goals. But determination to change this around is growing. (Really? mutters my inner cynic. I’ll believe it when I see it.) A friend told me recently, if you want to get something done, you must have a plan of action. And even more necessary is writing down the steps needed to accomplish your goal.
Consequently, I’ve become a compulsive list compiler, but don’t laugh, because although I hang my head in embarrassment that after a year of checking out printing websites, I still hadn’t ordered any business cards, I can congratulate myself on achieving that goal! Well, they’re in the mail en route, and just now coming.
The second goal getting closer is setting up an email list of subscribers to a newsletter. (A Very Important step for the indie writer my research informs me.) By announcing it, I’m increasing my chances of attaining it, if for no other reason than to save myself a measure of embarrassment. I have considered, and investigated this previously, but as is my pattern, proceeded no further, letting the idea slide merrily off the cliff of virtuous resolutions, and into the muddy swamp of my subconscious where it's been partying with my other neglected goals. Step one is taken as I’ve signed up to mail-chimp, the to-do list is waiting, and hopefully everything will be in place for mid June.
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To all story lovers out there, good reading, and to those of you who write, good writing.
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