Stuck in the middle

I’ve not posted in a couple of weeks because I’ve been busy doing a number of different things. For the last few months I have been chipping away gradually on the first draft of book 2 in my fantasy trilogy. Progress has been steady, sometimes it flows, other times I’m distracted by all of the other stuff going on in my life and the words come out very slowly. But I am gradually getting there, bit by bit.

Last week all of that changed when I received my edits for book 1, Battlemage, from Jenni Hill my editor at Orbit. So since then I’ve been reading through those, going through the book, making changes, whittling, reshaping and generally making it better. I’ve also been away from Battlemage long enough and have had my head in another space that I can look back on it a bit more critically. I can see what I was trying to do, if the characters are as rounded as I hoped, if the pacing is right, and where the wrinkles lie. I can also see how much is actually on the page and how much remains in my head. After living with characters and a story for years and then writing it all down, I sometimes miss out certain small pieces that explain the motivation of characters, or how the dots join up in the story. In my head it’s been implied or is clearly there on the page when it isn’t, so it is vitally important to have other people look at the work and point at the voids or lack of explanation.

This editing process is going to continue for the next couple of months, then I will jump back to writing book 2, while still mulling book 3 over in the back of my head. The spine of the story for book 3 is there, the main characters are there, I know some of the major beats I want to hit, but at some point I’ll sit down and make more notes to flesh it all out. All of that will happen once the first draft of book 2 has gone off. It does help that all three books are part of a much larger story, and they all connect to one another and lead in to one another, but it also means there are a lot more balls to keep in the air at the same time.

As well as the novels I’ve also submitted an OGN I co-wrote and am working on a couple of other comic book projects and planning the podcast mini-track for the 9 Worlds convention this August in Heathrow. So once again there is a lot going on, but not all of it is happening at once which is a relief. Juggling balls is definitely an apt description of how things are at present and how they will remain for the foreseeable future.

I’m still trying to keep my brain active with fresh content, which I think is important, so as ever I am always reading one book and at the moment am keeping pace with that, usually it is between three and four books a month. The one Dresden Files a month re-read continues, so I should get to the new book Skin Game some time next year. I’m still reading a stack of comics every month as it’s easier to pick them up, read for 20 minutes and get a good chunk of story. My TV viewing has slowed even more so than usual, so I’m constantly behind on just about everything current, but a few series are now wrapping up, which is kind of a relief. It means I get to catch up with everyone else and join in with the conversations. But, for the time being, I’m writing. Better get back to it.