My editor is anxiously awaiting the arrival of the second book in the Blackout series, but I’ve been significantly more productive lately and I decided to give myself a challenge: I could afford three months to work on a new project before I had to dive back into Blackout. That’s not a lot of time, but I figured I could write at least a good draft.
And, two months later, I have the book done and sent in to my agent for her review. I wrote the first draft in eleven days–the same amount of time it took to write the first draft of Variant. But I think I was better prepared this time around, and the first draft of this new book wasn’t as terrible as the first draft of Variant. It was still rough, and it’s now gone through five revisions, but I’m much more comfortable with it at the two month mark than I was with Variant at the two month mark.
To be honest, the “two months” schedule is a bit of an exaggeration. Yes, that’s how long it took me to write the drafts, but I’ve been playing with the story idea for at least three years. I never put anything on paper, but I’d been figuring out characters and plot and setting since all the way back in 2010 when Variant first sold.
(Fun fact: some writers, like Stephenie Meyer, wrote their books based on dreams. The first kernel of an idea for this book came from a (legal) drug hallucination in 2009 when I was hopped up on pain killers for a chest infection. But kids: don’t do drugs!)
Anyway, my ability to write fast is due, in large part, to my current mental illness. My OCD gives me an inability to relax–I always have to be occupied. While I don’t recommend OCD to anyone, and would gladly be done with it, the 14-hour working days it’s forced on me would make anyone write quickly.
But the point of all of this is to say that this book is done (for now) and I’m incredibly happy with it. It’s a genre that I’ve never attempted before. (Really, I think it’s probably a combination of genres that no one has attempted before. I don’t want to go into specifics–I want to keep some things secret for now–but let me sum it up simply as Steampunk King Arthur set in the American West.) It’s been great fun to write, and I can’t wait until it finds a publisher and you all get to read it.