Now, those of you who follow me on social media (thank you!) probably already know this, but I finished the first draft of Salt and Silver!
God, it’s exciting. I can’t even begin to express how much of a high it is to finish writing a book. (Not without taking absolutely forever about it, and, lets face it, that would get pretty boring for you guys.) The feeling of accomplishment is incredibly overwhelming, though.
Of course, now there’s the problem of…the crash.
You see, finishing a book is huge. But I’ve spent the past 4 or 5 months (since the first or second week of January) in the minds of these characters. I’ve lived and breathed their lives and breaths.
Ness, Nolan, and Elias have become so real to me, as do the characters in every book I write. And they have to, really. My writing is deeply psychological and very emotional. I have to flesh the characters out, have to know what drives them. I have to figure out their deepest desires, their coping mechanisms, their humor, the things that make them nervous…
All of it.
And by the time you do that, they’re like real people.
Add to that the fact that I’m a pantser, and it’s basically like the beginning of a friendship (or rivalry, in the case of villains). Every time I sit down with these characters, I learn something new. Every time I think through their lives, I figure out something new in their past that explains the personality they’ve taken on.
Yes, I know. I can practically hear the scoffs and see the eye rolls I’m sure some of you are giving me. I’m perfectly aware that most people who do a lot of outlining and plotting think that all this pantser mumbo jumbo is…well, mumbo jumbo. “You made the characters. You control their personality and their actions.”
Yeah, I do. To a degree.
But for the sake of realism, I have to treat them like people. The only alternative is plotting everything ahead of time, and feeling like I’m suffocating. If they each have their own code, their own personality, then writing them by the seat of my pants is easier. Because there are certain things they would, or would not, do.
Plus, much like real people, fictional people cause all sorts of drama for themselves when left to their own devices.
But treating them like real people has a price. Now, there’s the emptiness left behind by getting their stories out. Because, now, I don’t have to learn more about them. I don’t have to figure out their lives. I don’t have to learn what these friends like to eat, or why they like the sound of the birds in the woods beyond their cottage window, or why they feel guilty all the time.
It’s all done. It’s all figured out.
These friends, in their own way, have moved on. Which makes this “crash” seem a lot lonelier than I intended it to. Lol.
And since I’m going to be editing for a while, rather than starting another story immediately, I’m not building a new world or creating people. It’s honestly…a bit boring. Lol. 12 hours shifts go by so much faster when I have a story spinning through my brain. My mind is desperate to work on something, but…I can’t edit while operating heavy machinery.
Not if I expect to come out the other side of the experience with all my parts attached…I kinda have to watch what I’m doing. Staring at a screen is just a bad idea. Lol.
It’s not like I don’t have ideas, though. I intend to finish The Regonia Chronicles this year, and then there’s Second to None, the thriller that I’m dying to get started on.
But if I don’t do some editing, and get all this other shit done, I’ll never get any of these stories out to be read. Between the rerelease of The Gem of Meruna, Salt and Silver, and the other completed standalone novels (I specify standalone here, because technically book one of Regonia is done, but I’m not far enough with the series to even think about a release for that one yet), I have five books…just…waiting.
And since I’ve decided to self-publish, all they’re waiting on…is me.
We’ll see how stir crazy I get, not writing. It genuinely drives me batty. I may have to do a chapter here and there for Regonia, just to maintain my sanity.
For now, though, I’m about five chapters into the preliminary edits of Salt and Silver. (I have the edits for the next couple chapters handwritten, though, because I worked on it in the cafeteria at work. So…sorta seven chapters into the edit.) This is just the “I put that in to fill a plothole, so don’t forget, take it out, and fuck up the story” edit. It’s also the “Why the fuck did I choose that word?” edit…
Basically, just catching wonky flow and typos while it’s all still fresh in my mind.
I have to tighten it up, basically. Not that my first drafts are absolute monstrosities, or anything, but they certainly need work.
Then, I’ll let it sit while I get The Gem of Meruna ready. Then, back into the minds of Ness, Nolan, and Elias in the world of Salt and SIlver for more edits. Then…drum roll…writing something else. Eventually, some more polishing for Salt and SIlver, and then it’ll be off to beta readers.
So, in case you thought books were quick and easy…They’re not. Lol. There are so many steps involved.
Now, I write fast . The last two books I’ve written took about 4-5 months each, while working full time, with overtime almost every week. Hell, since I started taking my writing seriously in 2014, I’ve written six complete novels, a novella, and a lot of short stories. (RIP the novel I wrote in college, that was lost when the laptop and the external hard drive it was backed up on…fried.)
But there are so many things to do to get a story truly ready for readers. Writing it is only the beginning.
That pretty much gets you all up to speed with where I’m at, right now. I’ll set a release date for The Gem of Meruna once I get through some of the updating, and I’ll keep you posted.
Keep reading. Keep writing.