2014-03-19 17.48.13Scene map for TIME AND TITHE, per character

This week I finished the first draft of TIME AND TITHE, the book that will be my first ever sequel. When I started THE BETWEEN, I had no idea that the story would continue beyond the ending of the novel and had done absolutely no planning for it. Perhaps I can be forgiven, since the story does stand on its own, and since I began THE BETWEEN when I was a less experienced writer, in 2009.

These days, I typically finish a first draft of a new project in anywhere from four to six months. TIME AND TITHE took twice as long as I had anticipated, finishing at the ten month mark. What I discovered is writing something from scratch is much, much simpler than writing a sequel, especially if one hasn’t done any preparation. The ending of the story was especially a challenge because not only did I need to tie the events of this story together, I had to do it in a way that didn’t break trust with the events of the first book.

Oy.

But it’s done and the story now enters its resting phase before I dive back in for revisions and edits.

And since that all-consuming project is ended, I’m in a kind of limbo – the space after the ending, but before the beginning. I know I will be starting to draft the next book in the DERELICT universe (I’m in the brainstorming/outlining phase), but I’m not quite ready to dive in. This is a huge time of transition for me, and I don’t do well with change. As of today, I have five scant days until my youngest starts college and I will be officially an ’empty nester’.  [Deep breath]

It would have been better for me had I already been up to my eyeballs in writing the new, shiny thing, but with everything shifting at the same time, I don’t know where to begin.

Maybe it’s just as well that I give myself these days to transition. After all, this is back-to-school time, writ large, as both my sons will be in college. Since I no longer need to brave Staples for the kids’ back to school supplies, maybe I should take a trip there for myself and gear up for my own new writing year.

I have always considered the fall to be the opening of the year. It’s hard not to when nearly every year of one’s life has begun in September.  While I had several years between the end of graduate school and the beginning of my first child’s school career, it was a very short hiatus compared with the number of Septembers where I started something new.

Another way I’m hoping to jump start my writing life is with a weekend writing retreat I’ve signed up for in mid-September. Perhaps with a few days in a supportive writing environment, I’ll find what I need to get over the fear of starting new again.

Because that’s what it comes down to for me – fear of change.

How do you deal with transitions? If you’re one of the lucky ones that doesn’t struggle with transitions, please don’t tell me, because I will be well and truly envious.

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