The new book is at 17,000 words and so far feels incredibly easy to write, and a lot of fun. It helps that one of the main characters is a complete screw up. So far he's been beaten up twice, threatened once and about to be arrested. No doubt it'll get even worse before things improve!
On the HE WHO FIGHTS front, it's been four weeks since I sent it off to the editor. He said he'd take between four and five weeks so I could get his feedback any day now. I'm not going to chase, despite the temptation. When it comes it comes. I just hope he doesn't say its shit.
But whatever will be will be.
I'm about 12,000 words into the new book and really enjoying it. And its so nice having two POV to write in after a whole book of just Rane previously. It helps so much. Ideally I'd like to have a draft finished by August but we'll have to wait and see. Maybe over Ramadan I'll be able to get a lot down. Our official working hours are only 9-2 apparently so that does free me up a bit. However I do have a week long trip to the ad festival in Cannes where I doubt I'll get anything extra done.
I'm still drawing too. I can really see the improvement with each drawing I do. I've also been watching how to videos on youtube. I really want to master backgrounds and perspective.
I've started a drawing of Ziyi from SWITCH/BLADE to try what I've learned so far.
Here's the first stage:
When Prince died recently, it was rumoured that he had hundreds of unreleased songs hidden in his vault, that he barely slept so he could write and record all the songs in his head.
Seems a bit weird doesn't it? Except it doesn't. Not to me. Not now.
Maybe it's because I'm getting older — or maybe its because I'm not spending my spare time partying like I did when I was younger — but I've never been more aware that there's so much I want to make and so little time to do it in. Books I want to write, pictures I want to draw. And it worries me that I just won't get any of it done. Not if I'm going to earn a living or have a happy, healthy relationship with my family.
So I steal time. Early mornings, lunch breaks, other bits here and there. Never enough but enough to stop me feeling down about not doing anything. Enough to be happy that I get better with each picture I draw and each line I write.
Someone once asked me how I knew I was creative. I fumbled around the answer back then but now I know its because of this urge to make stuff. It doesn't matter if it's good or not - that after all is just a matter of opinion - just that you create.
Writers write. Illustrators draw. If you do fulfill your urge, then you can call yourself an artist.
I've been working on the new book and enjoying myself. Its a different kind of book for me. Its a fantasy but not set in that typical medieval type setting we know so well and its not just a swords and monsters love-fest either. It's a murder mystery.
I'm excited by the characters, the setting, the mystery - except I have one big problem. I have no idea who the murderer is. I seem to remember In Rankin once confessing he had no idea who the criminal was in his Rebus books and he had to find out by writing the book but the thought of this scares me a bit.
I've never been very good at planning books. I wish I was - it would probably save me a lot of work in discarded pages and dead ends. However with this one I think I must.
...a new book.
I know, I know. I said I was taking a break. Relaxing. All that stuff. But there's too many stories I want to tell. And this isn't a new new book. It's one I started before I signed with Rob and we agreed to do Rane. I'd written four chapters of it — some 7,000 words — and when I read over them the other day, i really enjoyed them. Its even got a nice bit of humour to it, which is a change for me, especially after Rane.
I'm also on a health kick/diet. I need to lose all the weight I put on while being ill and depressed so watching what I eat and exercising regularly now my lungs are working some what better. It does mean no chocolate though... and I'd kill for a Mars bar right about now!
Perhaps blues isn't the right word but when you finish a project that has been consuming you for basically two years, you are left with time to fill and brain space to fill. I know I'll get the book back in a couple of weeks but thoughts of my next project are starting to fill my mind once more.
There are two projects that are bubbling away. One is a completely new sci-fi idea and the other is a book I was writing before I launched into He Who Fights. I've lost the notes I had on it but I've just reread the opening three chapters and really enjoyed them. It's fantasy murder mystery with a pair of chalk and cheese hero characters.
I've also done a couple more Rane doodles over the weekend which I'm pleased with.
Of course Rane never fights a dragon in the book but it was an image that stuck in my mind.
This is more of a scene from the book. A little encounter with kyoryu in the Dead Lands. I used a Wolverine statue I had for reference on Rane's body position which helped a lot.
I've just sent of HE WHO FIGHTS to an editor to look at the book. I really enjoyed my reread of it but who knows — I'm so close to it at the moment, I have no subjective opinion.
It will take a few weeks for the editor to get back to me so I'm going to enjoy some guilt-free time where I don't have to worry about writing. Just go to the gym and have fun. I have my idea for my next book to ponder anyway so I'll allow that to simmer.
Its a sci-fi spy yarn so I'm going to watch a lot of Bourne/Bond/spy films to get inspired.
Funny looking back on HWF. My original idea was to write a fantasy western, a swords and sorcery Man With No Name. The book is very different from the initial first draft (OMG how different!) but I think I've managed to stay true to that hope.
I know I'm a much better than when I wrote CRY HAVOC and SWITCH/BLADE - I'm better than when I first started HWF — but I've never come closer to giving up than while I was writing this book. Its been tough. Tougher than anything I've done. So I'm just proud that its finished for now.