Tonight I started writing Tales of the Blue Jade Book 3, otherwise known as The Jeweller of Rassylon. I've spent the past 6 or 7 weeks nutting out an outline and filling my notebook with ideas and maps, and I've reached the point where I feel it's time to dive in (hence the very witty title of this post) and get started.
It's a funny bitter-sweet feeling when you start writing a new book. Part of me feels scared that I'll discover I've lost my ability to write, another part feels excited to be joining Dillen, Koto and Tajni on yet another adventure. However I feel, I have to push on and hopefully come up with something resembling a decent first draft by the end of the year.
As I mentioned, I've decided this time to completely scrap the "driving without headlights" approach and make a careful outline of what is going to happen in each chapter. I decided to do this when I realised that I wrote about 4 drafts of Mapmaker's Apprentice without any real idea where the story was going, and I could have reached draft 5 in a much shorter time if I had only taken the time to plot and plan and work it out as much as I could beforehand. That way I would have avoided the rather panicky last few months where the deadline started to loom and I ended up having to ask for an extra month to get it finished.
I'm happy with the outline I came up with for book 3, and to be truthful it poured off the pen much more easily than book 2 -- perhaps something to do with "book 2 syndrome", a malady that I am now firmly convinced exists. Let's hope it all works out in the end.
In other breaking news, I have a short story in the latest edition of Andromeda Spaceways.
It's called Zombie Dreams and it's about a zombie who decides all he wants in life (death?) is to become an architect. The idea first came to me when I was staring out the window of the bus on the way to work. That night I wrote a first draft, which I promptly decided was utter rubbish and confined to my hard-drive for all eternity. Then a few months later I happened to give it another read and thought it was actually quite good (amazing how time and distance can give you a new view of things) so I worked to get it up to scratch and sent it in. It's a comical story, obviously, but somehow it's quite special to me. No idea why, but I hope others are able to enjoy it too.
On a side note, my good writing buddy Liz has a story in the same edition, and she managed to have hers illustrated! (No jealousy there whatsover. Not even a hint). Congrats, Liz! It's a wonderful story indeed.