So I confess that I was worried. When I quite my day job to write full-time, I was concerned that I might slack off. I know myself. If I can nap all day, I might just do that. But although my workday is considerably less hectic than it was in phone support, I’ve discovered that one deadline is almost immediately followed by another in this gig.
There are plenty of writers who write faster than I do. I talk to people daily who find it easy to churn out 2,000-5,000 words a day, and it’s not because they’re writing crap. Some are among my favorite authors.
I can’t do that. I can do 1,000 words a day on average, generally a bit more. When the spirit moves me, as it did for the final couple weeks of my YA novel, Gods (Book Three of the Dreams of Fire and Gods trilogy), I can do twice that. But that’s not a normal writing pace for me.
I’m also a little fuzzy on the whole deadline thing. Always have been. I try very hard not to piss off my publisher, but begging an extra day or two is sadly not uncommon.
However, I’ve had a pretty productive summer despite my shortcomings. I turned in the manuscript for Gods, which turned out to be 66k words long, in mid(-ish) July, and submitted a 20k Christmas novella for the Dreamspinner Advent Calendar on August 1st. Then I spent a week or so starting a steampunk project for an October deadline (it’s currently at 8.8k), but put that aside to finish a 9.5k story about two men on a business trip for a charity anthology. In between there have been miscellaneous bouts of editing, blog posts (not counting guest blogs), and other promotional work. About 30k of Gods was written since going full-time, so I’ll say that’s about 68k written in the past … well, about 86 days. Which works out to about 790 words per day….
Wait a minute — that sucks!
Oh, wait. I get to take out 24 days for weekends (there were also some holidays in there). That brings it to just over 1,000 words a day.
Well, that was all rather pointless then, but at least I can justify not searching through Help Wanted ads for a bit longer.
My current project is a contemporary (more or less — it takes place in 1996) college romance novel, currently called Second Chances. Yes, my publisher has already suggested changing the name, since are probably about ten million romances out there with similar names. It’s not all that descriptive anyway. It’s just the best I’ve thought of so far.
Anyway, the story concerns a cute, somewhat jockish redhead named Jake, who resembles the possibly naked young man pictured on the right. Jake was mentioned in Billy’s Bones, as the high school best friend of Tom Langois. Tom had had a crush on him and came out to him, only to have Jake freak out and run away. Tom brooded for a while, walking past his house every afternoon trying to build up the courage to go knock on the door (yes, I did this once, when I’d had an argument with my best friend in high school), until Jake’s father threatened to put a restraining order on him. (In real life, my friend and I just patched it up and we’re still friends to this day.)
So, back to Jake. Jake, we learn in this next novel, is gay too. He’s just closeted, as a result of growing up with a homophobic father and two older brothers who enjoy beating him up. His family moves away from the area before he can figure out how to patch things up with Tom, and sadly they never see each other again.
But Jake goes off to college and that’s when, in 1996, he moves into a creative arts dorm at UNH (the dorm I lived in) and becomes roommates with Danny, who resembles the possibly naked young man pictured on the left.
While Jake struggles with the guilt he feels over rejecting the best friend he ever had for being gay, knowing that secretly he was gay too, Danny is dealing with the aftermath of what happened when the jock he was crushing on in high school betrayed him in a rather horrible way.
This story is a bit lighter than Billy’s Bones, though it deals with some similar themes. That part wasn’t intentional — they just kind of crept in there. But Jake and Danny are young and living in a dorm with coed bathrooms, marathon D&D sessions in the lounge, and naked pizza parties, so I think it’s a fun, entertaining read. And God is it nostalgic for me to write! The years I lived in that dorm were some of the best years of my life.
It’s a bit over half done, since I started it in the spring. I had to put it aside for the other commitments, but my publisher wants to see it in mid September, so I really have to get cracking! The first half was so much fun to write, I’m really excited to finally have a chunk of time to finish it.