So, a few weeks ago in mid March I finally finshed the first draft of the longest book I've ever written. I still don't have a good title for it yet, but the series that it kicks off is called the Deicide Saga. The easiest way to explain the plot is a mash up of Greek and Hindu mythological principles in which you have a deal-with-the-devil type of story, lots of magic, a gigantic world, and protagonists that you might not always root for. I wrote "The End" at just over 250,000 words, and now it is definitely in hibernation.
It was, by far, the hardest book I've ever written. I so enjoyed writing In the Shadow of Legends that I expected this book to be as free-flowing and easy - In the Shadow of Legends took me a full month less to write, and it was just about the same amount of words. And when I go back and read it, I like it. This book was like pulling teeth all the way through, and I haven't quite figured out why, yet. I really, really hope I do figure it out, and I hope it's not because the book is awful. The thought of spending November 2012-March 2013 writing a 250k word book and then throwing it out is painful.
And, honestly, that might be why it was so hard to write, since that's exactly what I did last year. In the Shadow of Legends was rejected by the agent that I really want to land (Brandon Sanderson's agent). That normally wouldn't be the end of a book for me, but the rejection was caveated with a "but I want to see more from you," and thereafter he seemed genuinely interested in representing me. That means I have to trade the chances of In the Shadow of Legends ever seeing a bookshelf for a chance to have a king-maker as my agent. Seems like an easy choice, but it wasn't. My grandfather died shortly after I completed the book that was, in a very strange way, inspired by him. It's tough to let something like that go for the sake of something that you're not even sure really exists.
Wow, that got a little deeper than I wanted it to. Reset. Chin up. Make a pun about socks. Anyway, I was excited to finish the first book in the Deicide Saga so I could move on to something new. Because it was such an epic fantasy book - serious, gritty a little depressing - I really felt like I wanted to freewheel something and write something very light and easy. So, the title of my next book?
"Death Bear and the Snuggle of Doom."
I started writing it immediately after the other book after brainstorming with a friend for a few days, who helped give me the idea, and I'm somehow already 25,000 words into it. I won't give you any hints except that it's going to be ridiculous and about half the length of my other books. It'll be part of a very loosely structured wizard world that I've come up with over the last few years (like a Discworld, in a way) and it's full of I-Don't-Give-A-Shit. For those of you not familiar with the technical term, it's when you're not quite freewriting (writing without an outline) but you're not really paranoid about the actual content. You're just writing. So far, my two professional sales to Daily Science Fiction have been full of that - each one was written in about 20 minutes and not edited. I'm hoping I can achieve that level of greatness (?) with this book by doing something similar. If it works, then maybe I'll adopt this posture for future novels.
So, a smooth and natural transition from heavy, deep, slightly depressing epic fantasy to Terry Pratchett. I don't think there's anything wrong with me at all...