I wrote THE BATTLE SYLPH in a month. Mind you, I was deployed for the first half of that and on course for the second, which meant I had nothing else to do in the evening other than go to the bar. I wrote THE SHATTERED SYLPH in a month and a half. THE QUEEN OF THE SYLPHS took three months. I wrote WAR OF THE SYLPHS in seven months and HUNTER OF THE SYLPHS topped them all at ten months.
I’d probably take less time if I spent less time being distracted. Until such time as I have a few books on the bestsellers’ list, I work full time and my job is demanding enough that I’m usually too tired to do more than play computer games in the evening. I also get distracted by the knitting of sweaters and socks and the reading of books. Good thing I don’t have cable or I’d be staring at that for hours on end too.
Right now, I’m not writing a Sylph book. I’m working on another trilogy in a different fantasy universe. The first book is called THE CUCKOO and took five months to get the initial draft out. The second is titled THE HOMUNCULUS and is currently half done and mocking me as I speak. Book three, THE REVENANT, is a distant torment on the horizon. The vast majority of these books have been written in the forty-five minutes or so I have between when I get to work and when I actually start my shift. Never thought I’d be grateful to car pooling.
These have been some of the hardest books for me to write. My first drafts in a new universe are usually… confused. I’m making up the world as I go alone, refining and enriching it, and as I add bits, I end up contradicting things I said earlier. I usually catch them all before the book even goes to the editor and if I don’t, someone else catches them before they go to print. If someone tried to read THE CUCKOO right now, they’d probably throw it away in confusion and wonder what I was smoking.
My grand plan this weekend, like it is every weekend, is to ‘get some serious writing done’. I’m up to 596 words for the day and I’m writing a blog entry instead. A vaguely whiny blog entry…. I know where I want to go with this book, or rather, I know the highlights and the ending. It’s the getting there that’s being a problem.
I assume if someone’s bothering to read this, they read THE BATTLE SYLPH and possibly THE SHATTERED SYLPH. I don’t plot my books. Not in the traditional sense. Outlines kill inspiration for me dead, so it’s all in my head, usually in the form of flashes of specific scenes I want to see. When I started THE BATTLE SYLPH, I had three images in my head. One was of a man leaping off a sheer cliff and everyone screaming as he changed shape. Another was of a cottage exploding and a bird of prey streaking past a living cloud whose teeth closed right behind his tail. I also saw a slim bald man standing behind a throne with a king cringing in it, and the slim man was laughing without making a sound. The whole plot of the first book was to get to those points in time.
I had the same sorts of things in my head for THE SHATTERED SYLPH. Leon leaning back against a door, Ril standing almost against him and drinking his energy. Ril high above the ground, upside down and rotating in midair above something horrible. Lizzy dancing in a translucent dress. Leon riding Ril in the form of a horse. It’s like I’ve seen the trailer to a movie, which is a bit hard to deal with when you’re the one writing the movie.
I have these flicks in time for THE CUCKOO, THE HOMUNCULUS, and THE REVENANT too. I even have them for two more Sylph books that I’ll be writing once I have this trilogy done. It’s just coming out so slowly. I don’t think a reader can tell the difference between a scene it took me twenty minutes to write and one that took two weeks, but I want it to come out now. I want to see my lead male Goose running along the top of that train I know he will be on, knowing he has to get off of it before it’s too late. I can see the gates to Alkara and the army marching on it. I want to get there.
I can see what’s going to happen in the next two Sylph books too. That little earth sylph standing in the laboratory is just waiting for me to find her. Just as I can see a woman riding a blue-furred monster across the Shale Plains, the wind streaming her hair back. She’s grinning at me. That’s not going to last, given what I know will happen to her when she gets to where she’s going.
I can’t wait to get to the scene with Thrall and the horse.
I’ve started meeting other authors, thanks to the Ottawa Chapter of the Romance Writer’s Association. I need to ask them how they get this stuff out of their heads when its there, and they can see it, and it just doesn’t want to come out as quickly as they need it to.
Maybe I need to lock myself away in a secret room somewhere with no computer games or knitting or reading or eating or internet or work to distract me.
Nah... If I did that I’d probably just write more blog entries.
PS: Before anyone gets too excited, I haven’t sold any of these books yet, other than the first three Sylph books. I’d like to, but I’d write them regardless. Don’t ask me when they’ll be available. Until a publisher buys them and tells me, I don’t know. You’d be better off asking them. :)