Thin Ice

My wife likes to remind me on occasion, too many occasions, that I have not started my next novel in two years.

While that may be true, from a certain point of view, in another it is a galaxy beyond the truth. While I have not been typing words for my next novel, there are voices aplenty screaming at my brain where I must go next.

In many ways, I wish I could just complete one tale and begin another, but I cannot. In my addled brain I have one over-arching story that begins with The Rages, The Book of the Shepherds Volume I, and ends sixteen novels later.

I have considered on many occasions the impracticality and impossibility of it all. I have done little to none of the necessary steps writers do to promote their work. I have attended no writer’s conferences, had no book premiers, and my “website” draws little but digital dust. I have done little in the way of advertising, and seldom even mention my secret obsession with those I know.

I finished the first four books, cast them out into the universe, and watched them settle comfortably to the bottom of the vast literary pool.

Why the hell am I doing this?

Because I must, is the answer. It may simply be a “vanity” project, but until I get it out of my head, it will simmer until it boils over and drives me mad.

I promised my wife I would start promoting my work (two years ago), but never have. To do so requires a certain confidence and bravado that I am sorely lacking. I’ll find a way to start this year.

While I have not been pecking words on a keyboard, I have been writing five different novels, only in my head. I set things in place with The Book of the Shepherds, and now I must find a way to remain consistent with the overarching narrative. Every door I close I cannot reopen, so, I need to tread carefully.

The next two books are prequels. As a reader and a fan of anything geeky (fantasy or science fiction), I struggle with prequels because I already know where the story is going. Case in point was the movie Solo. I liked the movie, but I didn’t feel anything was really at stake because I knew the main characters survive whatever threat was coming their way.

For my two prequels, they could almost be novels separate from this story. None of the characters from the first four books are there. But these novels will give details on the story that follows and explain a little bit on who the Shepherds of Chance might be, and a looming threat I barely hinted at in the previous books.

So, for two years I haven’t been Not Writing, I have let my imagination “simmer.”

I am not a “writer,” I just spend a lot of time doing so or thinking about doing so. I have most of my life.

To start writing before it is time to start is skating on thin ice.

I’ve had this idea in my head for forty-five years, and I’ll get it out, one way or the other, before I am gone. But when I write, I need to be sure where I am going, and that depends (for me) entirely on the characters. For two years I have let them bicker and argue on where the story goes from here, and they have finally reached a consensus, so I can begin telling their story.

So, appropriately enough, on April Fools’ Day I will begin in earnest on the next volumes in this series. I think the characters have given me a direction to start, and I am sure they will give me a twist or turn along the way, but that’s the best part of the journey.

I have set my deadlines, and I usually take them to the last possible moment before completion but have never broken one. I am close to 59 years old, and this thought in my head will be exorcised by the time I retire from my day job when I am 68.


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