It's sort of weird. Me starting a new novel. A year ago it would have been sort of old hat, but ... well, as anyone who has read this blog in the last year might know, things have been a little hectic.
I've not started a novel from scratch in nearly two years. Last year I wrote a bunch, but looking back, much of it was serialized fiction or short stories, especially after the first quarter of the year. This year I've not been able to write nearly as much, mostly because of health-related issues, but I have managed a few short stories and I did work on a long project with another writer (not ready to announce that one yet). Also, early this year I did manage to wrap up my five-part Shieldbreaker series of connected short stories, sort of a serialized tale but not exactly.
So, it's been a while since I've sat down and worked on, let alone begun, a new novel.
I've only finished the first scene, about 1,700 words, but it's been kind of refreshing. It's been a little hectic, too. I feel rusty, like there are cobwebs in my head. The words don't flow quite as easily as they once did, but I think they will, though it might take 20,000 words before I get there again.
I'm not rushing myself. I'm not pushing ahead with daily output goals, a daily word count. I'm just trying to write when I can.
One nice thing is that this novel has been floating around in my head for more than two years now, perhaps even as long as three years. What this means is I already have nearly all the plot worked out, as well as the major characters. I'm not one who outlines, except in my mind, but in the past I have often written on the seat of my pants with only a vague notion of what's to come. Oh, I always knew what the next few chapters would bring, and I always knew the end game, but between all that I often relied upon my characters to lead the way.
I'm not saying that's bad, nor that it's good, but that it's how I often operated, especially with my serialized fiction.
Now, though, I've got it all in my head. Which I find a nice change of pace. I'm not sure it will speed up my writing, but it does give me more time to kick around different ideas, to consider taking the story in different directions or to go a little deeper with some of my characters.
Often in the past whenever I became stuck in a story, and it happens to every writer at some point or another, I usually found my way through by thinking about the characters and their motivations. I would ask myself, "Okay, what would the logical action or response be from this character considering the circumstances?" This way of thinking almost always pulled me through, though I might have had to spend a few days working out the details.
Now I find I mostly don't have to work out the details. I know them already.
Oh, I'm sure there'll be a few bumps along the road, but perhaps fewer bumps or different bumps.
I'm not suggesting I'm going to take up outlining. There's no need, in my opinion. This particular novel is another Kron Darkbow tale, so afterward I might put off for some while writing the next one in order to let the next Kron tale work itself out in my brain (yes, I've already got the basic plot figured and some of the characters), but I've already got dozen of other ideas for novels ready to hit the page or screen. Some of these other novels would be fantasy, mostly more tales of my Ursian Chronicles even though they don't feature Kron, but some are horror novels or even mainstream or literary novels. And I've still at least two more serialized fiction tales I want to get to, maybe three.
Short stories aren't specifically on my horizon at the moment, but that doesn't mean I'm not interested in writing them. I've found of late I much more like working with an anthology editor or submitting a tale to a magazine than trying to publish my own short stories, mainly because my shorts on their own don't sell all that well but also because I like working with others some.
So, we'll see. At least I'm writing regular again. I'm sure in a month I'll be bitching, wishing this damn novel was finished. But until then, I'll enjoy the ride.