Monday, 2 December 2013

December, Where It's At...

The problem with planning is that plans sometimes need to change, and it's tough not to feel a little bad when that happens.  Especially if you're perhaps a bit too much of a planner, like I am; if you are, indeed, slightly OCD in setting yourself targets and sticking to them as if life, the universe and everything depended on it.

I mention this as a roundabout way of saying that until I few days ago I was planning to start my new novel today, and now I'm not.  And I feel a little bad about it. But I probably shouldn't, because not starting it is the right thing to do.  I should, in fact, be feeling pretty good about making the right decision.  So here's a blog post where I get to convince myself of that.

As I've hinted at more than once, but perhaps never explicitly said, I've burned myself out quite badly over the last couple of years; writing full time around full time work took a toll on my health, and by the time I walked away from the day job I was more than ready to drop.  I'm glad to say that things are now much better - as you'd hope they would be after six weeks of relative peace and quiet - but they're still not quite better enough that I feel ready to wade into the demands of a new novel.

And the new novel is going to be demanding.  That's the other thing I've realised over the last few weeks.  The First World War is not a subject you can approach lightly.  My preliminary research, of which I've done a fair bit, has only made me realise how much damn research I'm going to need to do to get anywhere near the level of understanding and technical accuracy I need to do this book justice.  Which turns out to be revelation / difficulty number two: I'm going to need to try and do it justice. There's nothing like reading the diaries of decent men who died horribly to sharpen the mind on that latter score; I really don't want to be the guy who writes a lousy, trivializing book about the First World War.

All of which means that December is now research month the second, and also rest month the second, because I want to be fighting fit when I go at this thing.  It's also the second month of my return to short story writing, which is yet another reason why putting the novel back a little feels like the right thing to do, because getting back into short story writing has been ridiculously fun; short fiction is always going to be my first love as a writer, and I've missed the hell out of it.  I've already written a sequel to the (recently published in Beneath Ceaseless Skies) Ill-Met at Midnight, and I'm currently getting into what was supposed to be a short story but appears to be becoming a novelette titled "War of the Rats", set in ... um ... well, in WW1 actually, because I might not be ready to write a novel yet, but I've been itching to put some of my new-found knowledge to use.  Oh, and I've promised Lavie Tidhar a story.  But the less said about that the better.

So that's December.  January, meanwhile, is absolutely goddamn set in stone as 'starting new novel month.'   So if there's another post here in a month's time explaining why I haven't got down to it then please do me a favour and come find me and kick my arse.

1 comment:

  1. I'd kick you, but that makes it harder to read.


    =huggles= Well done on realizing what you needed and doing that. Changing plans can be really hard to do.

    And yeah, I still have email due you.