November: The State of Affairs
I thought I’d post a shot of my desk today because it perfectly encapsulates my entire day (more on that in a minute) as well as what the next few weeks are going to look like (Thanksgiving turkey excluded).
It’s also a good day to take a snapshot because today also feels like a new start for me. I’ve just received edits back on my (first) thriller, and am now free to swan dive back into that world. I can’t wait.
I haven’t spoken a whole lot about my thriller yet—I always have this transition period between selling a book and talking about it overmuch; a place where I know it’s good even thought it’s not yet fully realized. A lot of authors find this waiting period unbearable, but I love it because it’s in these months that the book is still fully mine. Expecations haven’t yet risen, critics haven’t yet scoured the pages for what they dislike, and in this state of prolonged silence I am free to still love it with unabashed, wholehearted vulnerability. Time enough to toughen up later.
I can also reflect on the process of writing at this time, especially with the onset of edits. It allows me to revisit that place where the story was still just a thought and not yet a thing—but do it from the safe distance of ninety thousand completed words. No matter what happens now I can say, I did it. I mined something inside of me that had only a sliver of value–a tiny sparking vein of potential and truth–and I made it Real. So standing over here, all alone? It feels Good.
Yet the messy art of creation loves ambiguity, and there’s still plenty of that. Up now, other than edits, is the title. I found and lived with SWERVE for many months, yet it no longer works due to Other Books with the same name. I sobbed over that a bit–I loved that title and it worked on so many levels–but I think I have a great opportunity to come up with something even better.
So this is what my desk looks like today, lots of things going on at once:
1) A notebook with handwritten words which apply to my thriller—a balls-to-the-wall, 24-hour chase through the steaming Mojave—a list that will grow as I comb through the manuscript during edits. I’ll then cull the list, mindmap and bubble chart it, and see if I can’t make some great new associations. Wish me luck.
2) The first twenty pages of edits, printed and onscreen, because I need and love the tactile advantages of a printed page. I need to attack both global issues and line edits, so I’m also going to have to come up with an organized way of doing that. Each book is different.
3) I don’t know if you can see it, but there’s a sheet of notes with thoughts and concerns my editor and I have already discussed behind the notebook. That’s for ease of reference, and that too shall grow.
4) Red pencil at the ready.
5) Ug—looks like I have some contracts that have been sitting and waiting to signed and returned to my agent at Foundry, but I have questions re. them and haven’t gotten around to verbalizing them yet. (Sorry, Peter!)
6) Those are, tellingly, buried under this sleepy idea that woke up over the summer only to become an obsession this fall. I’m going to wait until the first draft is written to see what I want to do with it, but those are the world building notes sitting atop Peter’s contracts.
7) My shakeology drink as I have to workout in a bit and it’s fast and filling and easy.
8) Finally, nail polish because I have this fancy cocktail thing that’s going to cut my day short—so I can let it dry after the workout, hopefully while I do some meaningful work here at the desk, and before I have to stop and brush ALL of my hair.
What you don’t see: I need to get a newsletter out to let the readers who don’t follow me on social media know that THE REORDERING—the e-novella that continues the Signs of the Zodiac series—is now available.