I have several ideas for the beginning of the next set of books in the “Stasis” series. I’ve sketched out in my mind some vague plot lines and opening scenes. These plants are weedy and overgrown, and I’m not sure what their adult habit and structure is supposed to be. But I’m ready to start putting pencil to scrap paper. I hope to start writing in earnest by late August, and possibly have a rough draft of Book Seven by the end of NaNoWriMo.

From June:

I’m currently at about 127K words. The final edits are done, and now I’m working on getting it formatted for print. Once I get the author proof copy, I’ll go through that with a red pen. The cover art is shaping up nicely.

I’ve written a couple of chapters in the next series. Unfortunately, what they proved is that the next series isn’t at all what I thought it was– those “Thomas Books” outlines are going to stay outlines (and helpful world-building fodder) for the foreseeable future.

From early January:

I typed “The End” a couple of days after Brandon Sanderson tweeted a similar comment. His was to a 400K+ word book, and was anticipated by hundreds of thousands of fans. Mine was to a 106K+ word book, and was given a hearty congratulations by my ever-patient husband. It gives me some satisfaction to think that both of us are now under the relentless influence of The Editing Muse– an uncompassionate sawbones, a tiresome nitpicker, a dictator of hideous aspect.

I’m currently focused on repairing the potholes I knowingly left in the highway during construction (small ones like “***choose eye color,” gaping ones like “***fix this,” and everything in between). Book Six is a long way from the “read aloud to a captive audience” stage of editing, and solely focusing on its faults is an ego-punishing task. But there’s a tired, transitory happiness that comes during this stage when, after a few days’ work on a previously rotten section, you read it over again and feel satisfied.

From early December:

I’m starting to get that (now recognizable) conflicted happy/sad feeling that the story might be nearing completion. Too bad my plot summary was partially blown up. I keep falling asleep or waking up while having really bizarre endings playing through my mind, and then my waking thought becomes– “[character name] would NEVER do something like that… would [she or he]?”

I’m also concerned that the ending I keep working on in my head (and have a few tentative outline-ish pages drafted on) might require tens of thousands of words more to do it justice. I don’t have room for that many words– when I go back and edit a new book a few times, I’ve always ended up adding a net 15K-20K words. That’d push this book over the 120K word mark. I’m extra concerned because the last time (okay, two times) I was at this point, I had to end the book and begin a new one with the “ending” that was supposed to conclude the entire Marcel episode. There can’t be a Marcel Book 4, right? The Thomas books are calling, and I don’t have the genius required to write two separate lines of novels at the same time. I mean, I think I don’t. I’ve never tried.

Hmm…

Report from NaNoWriMo

From July:

I had what I thought was a pretty firm plot outline, and I liked it a lot– there were parts that made me smile, a couple of things that I thought were even a little clever, and some resolutions that felt like “at long last, all is right with the world.”

All that is out the window. A bunch of crazy stuff has happened. Some people I thought I could trust implicitly I’m not so sure about anymore, and others have become more interesting.

I had to stop everything for a couple of weeks and think, and then go back to my vague “Thomas Books” outline document and give them a much more detailed layout and some timeline sketches (at this moment I envision them as a trilogy). I’m back to working on Book 6, now.