On Writing Book 2
Well, no, actually. Something rather strange is happening. You may have gathered from my previous post that Hachette Australia are publishing my debut novel, Ryders Ridge, early next year, which is awesome. And so, while the publication process is going on, I’m working on a second book, with the working title Iron Junction. And the project is neither drowned in expectation, nor insurmountably difficult, nor burdened by imagined readers at my shoulder.
How so? Part of it is what I’ll call ‘unexpected genuineness’. In the past, I’ve always written with a kind of steely barrier between myself and the page. I never used writing as catharsis. In fact, I really had to be on the even keel to get any words down. But not this time. I am feeling everything in this book, and I seem to have some kind of bridle on the hyperemotional thought space where it can be directed into word production. These characters are shards of me thrown into some magical supersaturated liquid (a potent brew of wise advice from more experienced writers, my own experiences, and blood from a longing heart). As with Ryders Ridge, I’m writing about things that I actually experienced. Emotionally. And while I have actually experienced the settings of these stories, the emotional part is the key to making it real. I finally understand ‘write what you know’. (An earlier article about this here).
Where has this come from? I have a pretty good idea. The last two years have been incredibly difficult, personally speaking. I may blog about that sometime later (much later). Let’s just say it started with the Brisbane floods, a great watery catalyst, whose effects are still bouncing off every surface like a huge fracking sonar, mostly due to disruption of ‘home’. I wrote an oddly prophetic post about it on what I later learned was a grand watershed day. Life is strange. And wonderful.
But that is only part of the story. What else is helping? A few things, I think. Firstly is the fact this isn’t really book 2 at all, but book 5. I’m never thinking ‘what if I can’t do this again?’ because I have done it four times before. Combined with this is that I’ve worked on a productive word ethic that doesn’t depend on me feeling like writing (and works despite the amount of YouTube I watch … oh god, just discovered Honest Movie Trailers). So, I can get lots of words down if I need to, which is all clay on the wheel. My goal is to finish the draft by the end of January (which is about 4 working weeks away), to give it a good rest before editing.
Of course, there is plenty of room for it all to go pear-shaped from here. What’s that I hear? Hubris? Nah, it’s alright. I can control what I can (and I think that’s enough to get a decent book finished, and edited) and if nothing else goes to plan, that’s just the biz. And I still love it.