My hiatus from this page is due, in large part, to wrangling with the fifth Abyss novel, which I blogged about restarting a few months ago.
Thankfully, I’ve landed this one at last, which is the longest I’ve worked on a novel, or about eighteen months, if you count the false starts and the rewrites. All but one of my other novels were written in a month or less, and while I would like to blame that on the expanding setting, the truth is that I am more interested in rewriting than writing, and I find myself developing the bad habits of my younger days, such as continually stopping to rewrite and rephrase, and not being able to pass even so much as a stray typo without fluttering over the arrow keys to correct it.
I haven’t done Nanowrimo in three years, and I may do it this year to go back to basics in terms of discipline. I.e., being able to write a fast first draft, being able to skip over typos and other errors in order to keep my eye on the big picture, the beginning, middle, and end. Turning off my inner critic, and so forth.
As for the novel, it’s shaky, but I’m happy it’s finished. I wrote an epilogue to it about a month ago in the hope that it would serve as guiderails or a target to get me to the end, and much of that will have to be revised, but I’m glad to say that the trick worked. It may actually be the first chapter of a subsequent novel?
What also helped me get to the finish line was stepping away from two other novels, the long-stalled sequel to The Eye of Wysaerie, and the fourth novel in the Alsantia series. The Alsantia novels, my latest series, still have tons of momentum and are basically writing themselves, so that two weeks ago, when I focused on finishing my fifth Abyss novel, I was writing about 1600 words for Alsantia and about 100 each in the other two, just to keep my hand in. Suddenly it felt immensely important to me that I finish the fifth Abyss novel, bringing a conclusion to the first series in that setting, and opening a door to a subsequent series. So I just put the blinders on and headed for the finish line, which works. What an immensely satisfying feeling to complete a series! I’ve never finished a series before.
While working on multiple palettes is great for revising novels, it’s not good, at least for me, for producing first drafts. Going forward, I may continue writing one first draft at a time.