Writing Without…

I passed the 30,000 word mark on the current project (the mystery a.k.a. “G&T#1”)  The projected length for Draft 0 is about 70,000 words, which means I’m closing in on the halfway mark, on-schedule (the book is due in January).

The only catch?  No contract yet. No editor, either.

This doesn’t worry me, exactly.  We have an agreement with a major publisher, and I’ve been told that the contract is working its way (slowly) through the entrails of the legal department.  These things take time, especially in the summer when everyone (including author and agent) take vacation.  It will get here.

The no editor part is a bit trickier.  Y’see, I’ve been orphaned.  The acquiring editor – someone I’ve worked with before – has left the company (for another job that sounds fabulous).  I bear her no ill-will – how can I, when in my other life I did the same to my authors both at Berkley and at NAL/Roc?  That’s the sort of thing that happens.  But at the moment, I have no idea who will be working with me on this project.  Orphaned authors rarely have any say in who will be their new editor and – unlike the acquiring editor, who WANTED to work with you, the adopting editor is often assigned to projects based not on their enthusuasm, but their availability.  In most cases, the partnership – especially when starting on Book 1 – goes smoothly.  I see no reason not to trust this will be the same.

But still.  30,000+ words into the book, and despite the fact that it’s contracted-for, I feel as though I’m writing on-spec.  It’s… an odd feeling.  The usual sense of urgency I get when I’m on deadline is missing, the sense of a dialogue between myself, the story and my editor not possible, because 1/3 of the voices is yet unheard.

Part of me wants to put this manuscript aside, to go work on other projects that are whispering my name – there’s a book that’s due just after this one, with a contract and an editor already in-place.  There’s a project that has my heart, if not yet a publisher.  There’re short stories and novellas that lurk, just out of reach, taunting me.

But this is the book that is due first.  This is the one that’s on my plate – even if much of that plate is yet-invisible.  So that’s the one I’m writing.

[and it’s going well – every page teaches me something new about the characters, the mystery, and what the book wants to say, which is an excellent sign.]

I’m not sure what the lesson here is.  I’m not sure there is a lesson.  Sometimes, things just are.



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