We’re at the halftime intermission in the writing of Sunward, the final novel in The Plainsrunner trilogy. Time to assess progress and make plans for the second half. It’s what people do, right?
As usual, I’m enjoying writing this book. I always wonder before starting whether it will come easily, and whether I will get swept up in it. As always, the answers are yes. Whenever I sit down in the morning and pick up a pen, the words come. As soon as I get a good opening sentence, I’m good for the day. Also as always, I’m having a lot of fun seeing where the characters want to take me. It’s a case of telling them where we have to be, and then following them around as they take us there. Not that they have completely free rein. Sometimes I have to be firm with them.
I’m glad that I enjoy writing these novels. If I was relying on sales and reviews and other feedback, then I might have lost interest long ago. I got really good responses to the Green Comet trilogy, probably because I actively shared it with a Creative Commons license. With books two and three, I shared them as I wrote them, maintaining the interest of a good body of readers. This second trilogy is another experiment where I’m trying to sell it on commercial sites under a more restrictive copyright. That makes it harder to share, particularly as it is written, and that makes it harder to engage readers. Fortunately, I still enjoy writing, so I’ll keep plugging away. The books might sit on the shelf, possibly for a long time, but it’s not as if they’re going to go bad, is it?
Time to pick up a pen and start writing the second half. Another three or four months to completion.
My 2019 novel had the working title – The Prime. I ended up publishing it with that title unchanged. Last Fall I formatted it, recorded it and made it available for purchase. Then I took a break and had a nice rest. Now I’ve picked up my pen again and begun writing my 2020 novel with the working title – Sunward. It’s a sequel to The Prime and will be the completion of The Plainsrunner trilogy.
Back on my exercise ball as I write first thing in the morning, it feels pretty good. It’s always a concern when I get back to it. Will it still be there? Will the words still come? I’m happy to report, so far, so good. I gave myself a break, easing into it with 500 words a day. I’ll push it up to 750 next week. That seems to be my natural level.
The sun is shining this morning. We’ve had an unusually warm winter so far. Also, the weather has been bypassing us, dumping snow on areas north of us while leaving us bare and brown. The forecast calls for a cold snap next week. I don’t feel prepared for that.
I’ve just done my last pass of the proofreading and editing of The Prime. The corrections were getting pretty trivial, so I decided it was time to move on. Now I’m going to try something new with this book. With my previous books I went on from final proofing to formatting the final presentation version of the ebook. Only after that did I record it for the audiobook. My reasoning was that it was a lot easier to make corrections to text than to audio, so don’t do the recording until you have the final text version complete. That is changing this time. I’m going to use the reading and recording as the final proofing. Reading it out loud can sometimes expose errors or awkwardness, so it will give me one last chance to improve it before releasing it into the wild. On the downside, it means a longer wait for publication. On the upside, it means a shorter wait for the audiobook after publication.
There’s something else I have to sort out. The Prime has been my working title, and I’ve begun to think of it as the real title, but I’m not sure about that. I’ve been trying to think of something to replace it with, but nothing is coming to me yet.
After a nice long break, I’m back at it. I finished The Plainsrunner, my 2018 novel, did all the prep work, published it and completed recording the audiobook before Christmas. Then I took a few weeks off, ignoring the pathetic whimpering of my fountain pens as they stood unwanted in their cup on my desk. Now, at last, I’ve filled one of those pens and begun writing my 2019 novel, tentatively titled The Prime.
It felt good to sit on my exercise ball at my desk this morning, with the familiar weight of a pen in my hand. I was slightly concerned about this year’s goal of a thousand words per sitting. Last year I was able to do 750 words without any problems, but who knows where the limit might be? I needn’t have worried, as it turns out. I got a thousand words this morning, and it didn’t feel as if I was over-extending myself. It felt as if I should be able to reach that level on most mornings. The worst of it was the time it took. Writing for that long each morning is going to push back my other activities accordingly, so I’m going to have to get used to getting everything done that much later.
The Sun is shining here, with a mild temperature and gentle breezes. If I were one for taking omens, then I would be feeling pretty good about the coming year, and about the novel I’ll be writing during it. I’m not one for taking omens, as it happens, but I’m still feeling pretty good.
The writing is continuing to go well. I got two chapters done last week and I made a good start on chapter four today. Sometimes when I think about a story I wonder how there could ever be enough to put in between the beginning and the end to make a whole book. Then as I write, ideas pop up about where this is going to lead the character and what she’s going to have to do to get there, and I wonder if I’m going to be able to keep it down to a reasonable size. I’ve learned to not worry about having enough to write about. Once I put my characters in motion, it’s more a matter of keeping them from taking the story away from me. I keep reminding myself that I’ve alloted only 80,000 words for this one, so discipline is the key. For myself and for my adventurous characters.
So far, though, I haven’t tripped over the idea for the next novel. No worries. That doesn’t usually happen until about halfway through the current one.