Isaac Asimov once noted that few writers he knew kept a diary; he had apparently attempted it on several occasions, but found that it was taking time away from...his writing. Sometimes I know exactly how he feels; I seem to withdraw completely when I am pounding away on a book, partly because I suspect that the readers of this blog would rather read the next book than a new blog post. Nevertheless, I have managed to drag myself away for a little while.
It turns out that starting from scratch has been a great help in progressing the new book. I'm writing at two or three times the pace I was managing before, and the plot is – for once – flowing like water. As I write this, I've just passed the one-third mark, and I've actually done the first editing pass for a sixth of the book as well, which is a far better ratio than I usually manage! There may be a moral buried in all of this somewhere, about trusting your instincts – in retrospect, I should have abandoned the original book sometime back in January, rather than pressing on into this month as I did. If a book is a struggle to write, it's going to be an even bigger struggle to read!
I normally only write with a very vague outline; I find that if I make it too complicated, I can't do any more work on the actual book. As usual, I've been modifying the book as I go, and my wonderful and tidy sheet of bullet points has been replaced with a scrappy list in a notebook. (Even in the age of computers and word processors, I still find myself filling a notebook every couple of months. Sometimes you just need to scribble something down.
Something else that I think is helping me a lot is the new keyboard. It really makes a huge difference having a bigger screen and a real keyboard, rather than the old Chromebook. Don't get me wrong, the little portable was great, but I should have upgraded years ago. Another moral in this here – make sure you have decent equipment. At the very least, get a proper keyboard! The one I've got only cost £18, and it even has LED backlighting! (Something that I thought would be just a fun little extra, but when it gets towards dusk, it actually seems to help a little – not something I expected!)
Without quite planning it, I think that Triple-Edged Sword is going to be the 'introduction to the series' that I've been wanting to write for a long time. Indeed, I've made several attempts at this in the past, notably 'Aces High', and to an extent 'Malware Blues'. I'm conscious of the fact that this is getting to be a long series – though it still seems strange to think that I'm working on the seventeenth Alamo novel – and that it can be a considerable buy-in if you are starting fresh. Oddly, without quite realizing it, this seems to be better rigged for that.
Naturally, I'm not going to give any details of the plot here, that wouldn't be right, but I will say that this is settling down as a three-POV story (which is, I must confess, a great relief. Writing to four POV characters is a real trial; I think three is about right.) Orlova, Cooper and Salazar are the key players here, though Harper, Nelyubov and the others feature strongly as well, of course.
Reading this post on J. A. Konrath's blog (a blog I can recommend, as it happens) has given me a potential idea for my next little project, and I'm tempted to resurrect the old idea of the 'Battlecruiser Alamo Companion'. Apparently there is a growing trend towards 'Bibliographies' being published on Amazon, and I thought I might follow suit, though with a somewhat enhanced version. What I have vaguely in mind would be around twelve thousand words, at the ninety-nine-cent price point, which would have outlines of the books in the series as well as some essays about the writing of the books. No promises on this one, but I might manage to conjure it up this time!
Well...guess I'd better get back to work. That book won't write itself!