“Be present on social media, Liz. It’s good for the book.”
<checks date of last blog entry>
One of the casualties of writing to deadline is that recreational writing – and the exhortations of people insisting that blogging is an important marketing tool don’t make my personal blog any less recreational – gets shoved way, way down the priority list. It’s an absolute truth that writing a book is hard, but I’m starting to think that editing a book is even harder, and I’m not done with this one yet. And as always, I won’t be able to keep it in the rock tumbler as long as I’d like to. Are there writers who don’t pick up the bound versions of their books and flip through and find a million things they’d change?
Speaking of which, I do worry about the second book. I love it unreservedly. One loves one’s children. But it’s a different animal in a lot of ways from the first book. In my mind, it’s a logical progression of the story, but based on some of the things readers have enjoyed in the first book…hmm. I’ve had some nice early reviews, which reassures me that at least it was in the rock tumbler long enough to make it readable. And it is the book I wanted and needed to write. But whether it’ll find a real-world audience? We shall see.
I still love staring at the cover. Which is a weird thing to say, I suppose; it seems vain, but I’m not the one who drew it, so I guess it’s OK? I think about the third book’s cover, which is, of course, not even a gleam in the milkman’s eye at this point. But I am really looking forward to it.
I’ve delivered a draft of the third book. There will be changes, of course; but unless someone says “What are you, nuts? You can’t do that!” the story itself is more or less baked. I don’t know what it’s about yet. It’s a strange phenomenon, but when I write a book, I don’t know what it’s about until I’ve been done with it for a while. THE COLD BETWEEN is about belonging. REMNANTS OF TRUST is about revenge. This one? I can’t reduce it to a single word, not yet. Connection, maybe. Or community. (Doesn’t sound very space-opera-y, does it?)
Humanity. Maybe that’s it. Which sounds pompous, but really, humanity is such a small, personal thing. We’re human on our bad days and our good days, and when we say the wrong thing, and when we do the right one. It’s the one thing every one of us has in common. It’s probably a cliché to suggest that the world would be a better place if we all remembered that, but I also think it’s probably true.
There have been other things going on in my life besides the time-devouring act of completing a novel. But there’s a point at which you stop writing about your kids online, and I think I’ve hit it. She’s old enough to have veto power over what I do and don’t expose about her life, small and large. So I’ll only say two things: 1) All is well; and 2) Parenting is sometimes paralyzing. All those people who tell you it’s hard? They mean it. And it’s hard in ways that – no matter what you read or how you prepare – are going to kick your ass and make you question your entire existence.
There’s some parenting stuff in Book 3. How could there not be?
Somewhere in August – the 21st, I think – I hit the first anniversary of being without a day job. That I didn’t note the occasion, or even really think about it until after the fact, suggests that I’ve adjusted. Mostly that’s true. I’ve got a routine, of sorts, that more or less works for me, and I’ve weathered what I hope are the worst of the alone-all-day-weirdness changes. (We’ll see about that. I’m almost certainly out of practice dealing with people I don’t know, and next week I get to go to NYCC and…deal with people I don’t know. If I’m weird, PIDK – well, thank you for being part of my learning curve.)
When I think back on how all of it happened…it was clearly the right decision (and I say this well aware that I’m privileged as hell to have been able to make the choice). And I do have feelings about the endgame at that last job, which are probably best left unsaid. There’s also some reformed smoker stuff going on about the software industry in general, and some thoughts about the big STEM push in schools – but that’s a different blog post, and possibly also best left unsaid.
October, so far, looks like it might be fairly restful. There’s a little promotion I’m doing for REMNANTS OF TRUST, but so far nothing huge. And then there’s November, during which I will again do NaNoWriMo, and end up with 50,000 words of…something. I have a few scenes in my head, and the odd complication, but so far that’s all. Generally, when I start writing, I have an end point in mind. This time…well. Can’t say much without spilling Book 3 spoilers. 🙂 But suffice to say, I have a good place to start.
Someone asked me a few weeks ago if I might write about different characters someday. I might, at some point. But I’ve lived with these characters for so long. They inhabit my head and put their feet up on my coffee table and drink the last of the hot chocolate and generally hang around making pests of themselves. They are not finished with me yet, and so I am not finished with them. That’s OK with me. Like I said, one loves one’s children. All of them.