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Okay, back. I'm not even sure where I left off at this point. Last year ended up crashing all around me, starting in about October, where I got some (not free) trips to the hospital and couch time and beginning to recover just in time to limp through the holidays and feel like none of it was any good or I'd done enough because we're all feeling like that now. At least it's a shared weight, even if we're having to heft our own individually, dig?

So I got revisions to MY DROWNING CHORUS done and back by just before Thanksgiving. I'd like to tell you what the status of things are, but I can't know what I don't know. In theory, it's still lined up for springtime. I still think it's pretty good, probably the best thing that I've written or been involved in the writing of. I'll take it, as long as I can keep doing that with every book I write.

After that, and in-between Christmas everything, oh and driving fourteen hundred miles in a thirty-six hour period to go rescue my son from being stranded outside Evanston, Wyoming. On Christmas Eve. Yeah. Did I mention that this is something I really shouldn't be doing because of what sent me to the hospital in October? Yeah, well, it was. Luckily, no permanent harm came of it, but I did have to spend a couple days after Christmas with my foot up etc etc. Then New Years and yeah, all the disappointment that comes with realizing that turning the calendar isn't magically gonna fix things.

Then back to work, planning the next two books to follow MIRROR WOLVES (which at this point I figured was entirely outlined, yay!). Those being THE GLASS DIAMOND then ENIGMA INCORPORATED and that would end this phase of HAZELAND (along with a book of short stories that really should come out between MY DROWNING CHORUS and MIRROR WOLVES). And, honestly, GLASS DIAMOND was largely going to be worked together from a previously-unfinished comics idea, but fit well into HAZELAND and could be made to work with these two other books.

Then books started to decide to flip order. And oh, right, I really didn't have an idea for the third book aside from the (temporary) title ENIGMA INCORPORATED. Like what the threat was or how to get anyone involved in it or anything more that it was taking place in Los Angeles and it was going to be weird. So I wrote up a bunch of pages in my notebook, which I've just about filled out after a year and a half, and started making pieces of that into digital cards.

And oh, right, I really need to re-focus what the third book is going to be about. And really the third book needs to be the second. And now I have to make seeds of those are sufficiently planted in the first one that I thought was outlined enough for me to start on (reader: it wasn't). So I make more cards and shuffle them around and finally have enough of three different books to start writing the narrative of the first one. I guess this is what most people would call an outline. For me, it's going to be 20-40 pages of knowing what direction things are going from beginning to end because if I don't have that, I'm helpless. Only I had to get to this stage for three books instead of one.

See, QUEEN OF NO TOMORROWS wasn't written to start a series or anything. Maybe in my heart of hearts I wanted it to continue, but didn't have any manner of commitment to do so. So I approached it as a very very short standalone novel. I'd have handled a bunch of stuff differently if I'd really thought it was going to continue. But maybe it's better this way because MDC would've been set up as another novel entirely. And so on. As it is, what I thought was going to be the immediate follow up is, uh, the sixth book after. Whoops. Assuming the series lives that long. Anyways, I'm doing my damnedest to make sure it does.

So, here's what MIRROR WOLVES looks like now. (Blurred to avoid spoilers)

I don't have quite that much for all three books. Don't worry. There's still time.

So, as I said before, next up is to write about 10% of the length of the book as a narrative to make sure I know the stops. No, you don't get to read those. Hell, even my editor won't read those. They're a mess, barely even a roadmap. Besides, all the *interesting* stuff happens when it goes from outline to prose and details get stuck in my head like shards of glass and my own little obsessions come out to play.

It's also the scariest stage of the process, because it's not one I'm entirely in control of (or more accurately, I'm just a participant in.) The Word (which is a concept I've more or less picked up from Jamie Delano in our online conversations) is a thing that's beyond me. I've probably talked about this in different terms here, mostly about how the writer's individual ego is the least important/interesting part of the writing process. That there's something much bigger going on where the for lack of a better word magic happens. It really happens in the reader when the little squiggles get turned into an experience, but that's a discussion for another time. On the writing side, jumping from outline to writing is where it all happens, where it's all on the line.

And that's more than a little scary. What happens if you reach and there's no there there? I realize that this is foolish to think about. It's like wondering if gravity is going to turn off in an instant and we all go hurtling off the surface of the planet at ten thousand miles an hour. That's dumb. The thing behind the word is always there, just looking for an outlet.

But still. You as the conduit for it, the channel, yeah, that's another thing. Maybe you're no longer worthy. Which is a constant goddamn struggle for a writer with no audience. Okay, not entirely true. I do have a small audience, and a handful of early readers have all said good things about MDC. Still. Will it be there?

I mean, there's plenty of room for ego later on in the process (hellooooo, marketing -- barf) and for ego to get bruised by reviews and audience indifference and and and. Have to remind myself that now is not the time for it. Which might be what this is. Maybe it's just a way for readers to get a look at the Process (kids - don't do the process like I do. My process is a mess. But I'll allow it to be a mess as this is the first time I've deliberately planned out a trilogy, so I'm still trying to build the rocket plane as the countdown timer ticks down.)

Anyways, the only thing harder than beginnings is endings. True story.

See you in a shorter time than this last one took.


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