The current work-in-progress, a short fantasy novel, looks to be near completion. First draft completion, anyway. I expect to write “End” by next weekend, in time for Orycon. We’ll see. The point is that the time has come to move on to the next project.
I don’t want to bore anyone with the sausage making aspect of writing, but I should probably explain why it is time to start something new. A first draft is far from a final manuscript. If you picked up a novel in the bookstore printed directly from an author’s first draft, you’d set it back down before you got through the first page, wondering how such crap could make onto the shelf. A novel requires several rounds of drafts and revisions before it is ready even for the publisher to see. More revisions follow.
Why not jump right into the second draft? Because I’m too close to the story. I know what I think the story is. I don’t have an outside perspective. If I started re-reading now I’d miss narrative problems. Plot holes might gape before me on the page, but in my mind the structure is solid and I’d read blithely on, pleased with my own writing. So I need to place this pie on the window sill, give it time to cool. A month or two later I’ll be able to approach it with fresh eyes, see it for the steaming pile it is. Then I’ll despair at my own ineptitude for a few minutes before I knuckle down and get to work fixing the problems.
In the meantime I don’t want to let the writing muscles atrophy. It’s important to move on to the next project. What’s that going to be? Well, I’ve got ideas. Unfortunately I’ve got too many ideas. So likely I’ll be spending much of the time reading, thinking, and taking notes. Once I’ve settled on an idea I’ll begin outlining. If I time it right I’ll finish the outline right when I’m ready to start the second draft of my current project.
But that’s looking too far ahead. I’ve still got a few thousand words to set down first.