Yeah, so. I blew that “I’m gonna write everyday!” resolution, which is no one’s fault but mine. I was out of town; I was sick; I was busy with other things. It happens. But like a born-again virgin, I’m going to do my best to stick with the program and remain virtuous going forward.
With an eye toward this goal, for the last few days I’ve been trying to get started on a new book project* — and today I finally triumphed over the blank page.
I’d like to say that tackling a blank page never gets easier, but the truth is, eventually it does. Once upon a time I’d wrestle with a story idea for a week or two (or longer) before committing a few precious paragraphs; these days, I can gun myself up and take a serious stab within about seventy-two hours. Granted, I might end up throwing out everything I write, but it’s worth it to get a new thing underway.
The process (for me personally; and your mileage may vary) is hard to describe, but it shapes up kind of like a tornado. At first it’s a funnel cloud — wide and nebulous and swirling. It has a definite structure and look; I mean, you know what it’s about.** But it’s basically just a twisting mess of ideas that aren’t ready to go down on paper. However, given some time and the right meteorological brainstorm conditions, it begins to concentrate, and stretch, and extend like a long pokey finger — reaching toward the ground, or the page … and eventually, it hones itself down to a starting point. That pin-point where the storm meets the topsoil, that’s where the story starts. That’s the first sentence.
From there on out, the process looks like writing with one of those top-heavy whirly-gig pens that were so popular back in the 1980s. Remember those things? They made your text or drawings look like they were composed in squiggly spirals. I guess that was the point, but I tried to hand in some spiral-written homework once and I got a Stern Talking To for my efforts. Alas.
Anyway. Yes. Moving along.
The Project is underway, and I’m both nervous and excited about it. This new fiction attempt is not related to Boneshaker in any way***, though it’s also set in the 19th century … and it’ll also have a heavy steampunk element. But I want to get back closer to my horror roots, and I think I’ve found just the story to suit my nefarious purposes.
At the moment, I’m not sure how much I want to talk about it in public. I’m still getting a handle on the tale, and since this isn’t a project for an existing contract (though I certainly hope to sell it at some point!), I’m feeling insecure enough to be a tad vague. But here we go, once more reviving the word meters and all their attendant metrics.
Here’s today’s progress on the new steam-horror fin de siecle project about ghosts, guilt, elder gods, and monster-hunting in the aftermath of two gruesome murders:
Project: (tentative title) What She Had Done
New words written: 1530
Present total word count: 1530 words
Things accomplished in fiction: Ladies, lads, and gentlepersons, we have a beginning. It’s a stubby one, but it introduces three of the four major players (thus far) and includes mesmerism, ghosts, and the promise of monsters.
Things accomplished in real life: Virtually nothing else. Consumed a couple cans of Coke Zero; snacked entirely too much; fretted with reference volumes to no avail; composed a soundtrack to accompany my composition process; did not even do all the dishes.
Total Official Word Count of 2010: 22,116 words
* I’m putting Hellbent on a temporary hold, until I get editorial feedback on its predecessor, Bloodshot — so I know where I stand with regards to that short franchise. This would probably be a more meaningful statement if I hadn’t set it aside weeks ago to deal with other things.
** Chucking cows like Frisbees.
*** But don’t worry, another two Clockwork Century books are already in the pipeline — hopefully with more to come.