I have signed my name to a contract that states I will deliver book four in the Changeling series by February (there’s a little bit of wriggle room in whether it’s the beginning or end of the month, but it’s still February). And I’m not convinced I can do it. I always knew that books four and five were going to be hard, and maybe in retrospect I have shot myself in the foot by agreeing to such a mad schedule.
Books four and five are supposed to be the culmination of the series. I imagined that book four would be the start of a long and gripping denouement, through which I could weave a wonderful web of suspense that would then slowly unravel as the books went along. And that is still my intention.
The problem is with the way I write.
I write ‘by the seat of my pants’. I have a good idea of where the book will go (that’s not always concrete, and I have changed the endings of books when the writing suggested that the original end was not going to work), but I have no idea how I will get there, who will make the journey, or if all of the characters will make it to the end.
It’s a fun way to write, and it means that I am discovering things with my characters as we go on the journey together. I put them into terrible situations, and they work their way out of them. And we both find out how they do it together.
But I’m worried that this ‘runaway train’ method is going to be my undoing for the next two books in the series. There is a big part of me that says I should be planning more: diagrams, character maps, timelines etc all seem like the things I need right now. But I don’t have time. The grains are slipping through the glass, and I don’t have time to reinvent myself. And that only adds to the rising tide of worry.
Yes, this is a whiny post. And I really have no right to whinge and whine. But I think I needed to write this down.