Friday, May 2, 2014
Following the publication in February of 'Adapt And Overcome', the third novel in the Maxwell Saga, I began work on the fourth book in the series. However, it's been progressing very slowly. I've struggled to get my thoughts down on paper, and when I did they weren't very satisfactory. It felt like I'd hit a creative brick wall. I occasionally tried to write something in other genres, particularly fantasy, but that didn't seem to help.
I eventually decided, about ten days ago, that I'd simply been too close to my protagonist for too long. I've been working hard on Steve Maxwell-related material for the past three years, and I needed a break. Therefore, on a whim, I began writing a completely new science fiction novel. (Don't worry - I'm not abandoning the Maxwell Saga! I have at least a dozen books in that series worked out as plot outlines, and I'll be going back to Maxwell 4 later this year once I've taken a break to refresh my mind.)
The new novel is still military SF, set in the same universe as the Maxwell series but on a very different planet, under very different conditions and with a completely different cast of characters. I thought it might break the 'creativity drought'. Turns out that was a good idea. I've already passed 20,000 words, and Miss D. (my only 'alpha reader' so far) says it's flowing much better than my early Maxwell manuscripts. I'm writing it 'pantser' style - i.e. 'by the seat of my pants', without a carefully-worked-out plot and only a bare-bones structure in my mind. So far I'm averaging 2,000 to 3,000 new words a day, plus editing and revisions. If I can keep this up I may be finished with it by the end of May or early June.
The next question is, what to do with it if the idea works? I can publish it as a stand-alone single volume, or work it up into a trilogy, or even link it to the Maxwell series in some way (i.e. have the two protagonists meet in a future book, and join forces). There are all sorts of possibilities. It's quite refreshing to have no idea where it's going to go, and make it up as I go along.