Friday, May 2, 2014

Writing developments

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.



James Eades said...

Pantsing it is fun; seeing what the muse comes up with and discovering the story from the viewpoint of a scribe relating what he's being told has been one of the aspects which hooked me on writing. It's addictive in a whole new way. And scary, too.

Good luck on your swim out over the deep water

Bob Mueller said...

Glad to hear things are flowing again. Haven't looked at the Maxwell saga yet; my to-read list is a mile long, and I'm working on a sequel to The Sad Girl.

I tried pantsing it with my first book, but that turned into a trunk novel. I did very rough chapter outlines with TSG, and I think it worked out much better. I admire anyone who can pants it effectively.

Good luck!

MrGarabaldi said...

Hey Peter;

Great that you are writing another book:) A suggestion if you don't mind...write this as a stand alone in the same universe...and maybe in the future you can have both of them in the same book. Not be protagonist per se, but say have Maxwell and your new character get by fate thrown together for a mission....? Just an idea....?

Brigid said...

Glad to see you found a solution to "the wall". I will look forward to another good read. The Barkley book went to production, they're telling me 10 weeks til a final copy, and in bookstores this summer.

Rev. Paul said...

Good to hear that you've found your muse again. No reason it can't stand alone.

On a Wing and a Whim said...

Well, I was going to offer a different solution to hitting the wall ... you know, the mile-long honey-do list that makes waterboarding seem a pleasant and enjoyable alternative, much less working on Maxwell 4!

Seriously, though, I'm just happy you're writing and it's going well. Love you, honey!