In 1999 I published In One Year’s Time (still available on Amazon http://tinyurl.com/6tpss8s ) and in 2000 I published Blackstone Gate (also still available on Amazon http://tinyurl.com/6nwoqqf ). Since then I’ve had an urban fantasy series, and a science-fiction (almost space opera) series ‘cooking’ in the back of my mind.
I haven’t written anything novel-length since 2000. That’s a long hiatus. It’s not that I haven’t been writing, but I keep tripping over the first chapter. I get done and then go back and beat the poor thing to death with a red pen. I decided that this time I was going to just write. Three chapters later and I was feeling pretty good about it. Of course, I knew what would happen if I went back and edited it myself; I’d eviscerate it.
I tweeted a few times about some concepts and Jane (@Writing4Rent – you should follow her!) liked what she read well enough that she volunteered to give it a read through. I figured that a stranger had no iron in the fire and would have a better point of view, so I sent along the first 3 chapters. Naturally, as a stereotypically neurotic writer I was sure that they were absolute crap at that point! Jane carefully read what I sent and made comments that were exceptionally helpful. It’s hard to find someone who reads with an eye to the larger plot and the smaller details, so I was thrilled. With her notes and suggestions in hand I managed to edit the first three chapters without throwing the whole works out. That’s not to say that’s the last edit those chapters will get. I’ll almost certainly go back and tweak them to mesh with the rest of the book, and I’ll put in foreshadowing once I finally decide what’s going to happen. *grin*
Now I’m faced with the next big hurdle, chapter four. I’m not the kind of writer who uses an outline. I tried once, but then it ‘felt’ like I’d written it so I got bored and didn’t write it. I seem to work best if I haven’t got the foggiest idea what’s going to happen in the chapter after the one I’m writing. Unfortunately, I don’t seem to have much idea of what I want to have happening in the chapter I’m writing now. I’ll probably write twenty pages in order to get ten to twelve that are useable. The rest of the day’s writing will just have to be spent bullying chapter four into existence.