Starting a new novel: Standing On the Edge of a Cliff

So long, farewell,
Auf Weidersehen, goodbye!

Why in the name of the seven known worlds* would I begin a post with the lyrics to a song from The Sound of Music, you ask?  Why, especially, would I pick lyrics so heavy with the threat of a looming separation?  Am I quitting this whole blogging thing?  Hanging it up?  Throwing in the towel? Taking my football and going home, or packing up my stuff in to checkered cloth, tying it to  a pole and throwing it over my back, mid-century hobo-style?

No, my friends, have no fear. I’m not sure I could do that, even if I wanted to.

I am, however, about to become a little less prolific around these here parts, if only temporarily.

Because, as I mentioned, the time has come to write another novel.

Writing my first novel, Famine, was a marathon of slow, plodding, off-and-on progress that eventually saw me cross the finish line in an exhausted, exhilarated heap of word and beer-addled fleshiness.  It took a year and a half to complete. That’s hella inefficient.  Seriously, in that amount of time, mewling newborn humans go from being cute little bundles of completely dependent squishiness to walking and talking and making their parents crazy.

Luckily, my second novel, Longshots, came a bit quicker, as you likely know.  I flung words at a keyboard, chimp-like, in a frothing, frenzied fit of fictioning last November and somehow conjured it in just 30 short days.  Granted, it was  heaping pile of [censored] at that point, but a few passes of revision later, I’m a proud book parent as it starts to make it’s way in the world.

If I’m lucky, my future drafting pace will be much more Longshots and much less Famine.  Because, I’m going to be honest, 18 months is Too. Long. to write a novel when someone is waiting for it.  Well, unless, of course, you’re penning the next 1000-page tome in an epic fantasy series that already has millions of fans (*cough* you know *cough* who I mean *cough* – sorry, allergies are bad this spring), in which case, the rules are not just more flexible, they’re based on a completely different system of time.

It’s like some Alpha Centauri, Dr. Who Time Lord, base-25 math or something.

So, as I mentioned Monday, I’ve got a fair bit of word flinging to do between now and the end of the next month.  Which means I’ll have a lot less time for writing the usual long, rambling posts here.  Case in point, yesterday’s ode to the humble brownie.  Expect more of that and probably some silly haikus or what-not for a while.  More meaty dishes will return soon enough, I assure you, but for now, think of the next month as a kind of a blog posting diet.

The good news is that I love starting  new novels.  Admittedly, the sense of having nothing but a loose outline and an empty document that needs to be filled with 50,000 words or more is like standing over the edge of the Grand Canyon with just a flashlight.  It can give you a case of the jitters worse than when you had to pin that $10 corsage on your prom date without stabbing her.  But a few thousand words in, the jitters dissipate and you settle into the characters you’re hoping to bring to life.  Once that happens, you can flip on the cruise control and enjoy the wild ride through story-town.

Here I am, then, hands shaking on the wheel, dropping the shifter into ‘GO’.

Or, if you prefer, I’ve got my flashlight, and I’m diving off the edge of the cliff.

Let’s just hope it’s not a bumpy fall to the bottom.

Now, where was I?  Oh yes…

So long, farewell,
Auf Weidersehen, goodbye!


*I mean, there are at least seven known worlds in my head. I suppose your’s might be different?

4 thoughts on “Starting a new novel: Standing On the Edge of a Cliff

  1. My first two completed books were pretty much the same…it took me about three years to finish that first one (and yeah, I put it aside and started and stopped a few others in there), and then six weeks (go NaNo!) to write the second.
    Number three seems to be falling somewhere in between…hopefully closer to the six weeks than the 156 weeks!

    Go get ’em!


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