I have a bunch of ideas for things to write about today, and not one of them is substantive enough to sustain an entire post. And so it’s time for me to do one of my miscellanea posts. A paragraph or two about several things. Feel free to comment or ask about any one of them.
Are you working on a book right now? People here in my little town ask me this all the time. They know that I write for a living. They know that I write full-time. But they don’t really understand what this means. My standard answer now is “Yes, I’m pretty much ALWAYS working on a book.” But even that isn’t accurate, because the truth is I’m always working on several books. For the past couple of months I’ve been writing the fourth Thieftaker book, Dead Man’s Reach. I hope to finish my first draft of the book by the end of this month. It’s not due until April 1, but I need to get it done because I have other deadlines looming. Still, I had to take last week off from Dead Man’s Reach so that I could go over the copy edits of Thieftaker 3, A Plunder of Souls, which will come out in July. In another month or so, I’ll be writing the second book in the Weremyste Cycle, the three book series that I just sold to Baen; it’s due on July 1. But I’ll need to take time away from that book to proof read the galleys for A Plunder of Souls, and also to proofread the paperback galleys for the second Thieftaker book, Thieves’ Quarry, which comes out in paperback in June. During this time, I will also have to respond to editorial notes on the first Weremyste book, which will be released in January 2015. And come the summer, when I’ve finished writing Weremyste two, I’ll start writing Weremyste three, which is due January 1, 2015.
For those of you keeping score at home, that means that right now, technically, I have two books that I’m working on actively (Thieftakers 3 and 4) two more on which I will have some production work to do before long (Thieftaker 2 and Weremyste 1), and two others that I will be writing in the next eight months or so (Weremyste 2 and 3). I also have another novel that is finished and that I hope to shop around to publishers this year, as well as three more in that series that I will have to outline in rough form for any proposal that Lucienne and I submit to publishers. And I have an idea for a new series that I’ve been kicking around. Those books will probably have to wait for 2015, though.
So, yeah, I’m working on a book right now.
In the market for an e-reader. I have resisted this for a long time. I much prefer to read paper books. But I also wind up reading books in manuscript form for friends, either to give feedback as a beta reader, or to give a cover blurb. Often, it’s hard to get paper copies of these books. Books in manuscript form are bulky; and publishers can’s always afford to send bound advanced reader copies of a book to every person from whom they have requested blurbs.
Enter the e-reader. Many tablets and e-readers support not only standard e-book formats, but also .pdf and .rtf. This means that I could read manuscripts on a tablet at the gym or while on the road (not literally when I’m driving, but while traveling . . .), which would be incredibly convenient. And so, for the first time, I’m seriously considering this. I’m looking at the iPad mini, because all my other electronic devices are Apple based. But I’m also looking at Kobo’s e-Readers and tablets. Kobo is kind of cool because they are not wedded to any retailer — not Amazon, not Barnes & Noble, not iTunes. I like that. And Kobo has a program in place that allows customers to link their online purchases to any bookstore, including independents, so that the store gets credit for purchases. I like that, too.
So, anyone here have an iPad mini? Anyone here have a Kobo? Anyone care to make a pitch for some other brand? Kindle? Nook? Sony? I’m open to suggestions and would love to hear about your experiences.
What Worked and What Didn’t? With 2013 winding down, I find myself looking back on the professional experiences I’ve had, trying to make sense of what I’ve accomplished and what I found disappointing. I’m referring to the work, right now. Yes, I had a great year, including a wonderful weekend at ConCarolinas; a fantastic week in Calgary at When Words Collide, where I led a writing workshop and was guest of honor at the convention; and a frenetic but extremely fun weekend at DragonCon, where I was on a ton of panels, and got to sell books in a book with, among others, Faith, John, and Lucienne. I also sold two more Thieftaker books to Tor and three books to Baen. It’s been a good year.
But in terms of the actual writing, I also had some really good things happen. And I struggled some as well. I wrote two Thieftaker books this year — volumes three and four — and I wrestled mightily with both books. I wound up liking A Plunder of Souls very much, and I’m sure that I’ll feel that way about Dead Man’s Reach eventually. As John recently pointed out in a terrific post, sometimes, for a while at least, we hate out books, and that’s okay.
Thing is, I’m not sure why these books were so difficult to write. I outlined both, as I always, do, and my outlines for both proved far more durable than my usual outlines. What I mean is, I didn’t need to revise my outlines one third or one half of the way through each book — the outlines were more or less accurate throughout the writing process. On the other hand, both books were ambitious. Each, in its own way, was unlike any book I’d written before.
Whatever the cause, I find myself second-guessing my process a bit right now. Did I outline too much, and thus rob my plotting of the freshness and spontaneity on which I depend for creative energy? Or were my struggles merely the natural outcome of pushing myself as an artist — the price of ambition, as it were? I honestly don’t know the answer. But I do know that I’ll be starting a new book in January. I still plan to outline; I plan to push myself again. So I suppose that means I’ll probably struggle with this next one, too.
And I’m all right with that. This isn’t supposed to be easy.
So there it is: The ephemera of my thinking today. Care to comment on any or all? What are you pondering as 2013 winds down?David B. Coe http://www.DavidBCoe.com http://www.dbjackson-author.com