Camp NaNo in April didn’t go so well. In fact, I haven’t done so well on my writing for a while. I’ve been trying to move ahead with “quick fix” projects, the ones that on the surface don’t look like they require as much time and effort and therefore would be ready for the “Agent Auction House” sooner. I seem to have creatively shot myself in the foot trying to take these shortcuts. I made the mistake of getting caught up in the idea of production, of “being productive” and just pouring out words. And there is a time and a place for that. But I’ve been wallowing in these isolated shallow pools for a long while now, not willing to take that step back into the ocean.
It’s time to return to Marina.
Ravens and Roses has been waiting patiently for me for years. I started serious work in 2010 which petered out somewhere around 2014. But the story and the characters never really left. And while I enjoy spending time with characters in other stories, I don’t know them the way I know the cast of Ravens. I can take Ryn or Scion or Raz or Marella, drop them into a completely different narrative universe and context, and know how they’ll react. I can’t really do that with Nathaniel or Shakti or Samuel or Amaris. Certainly not with Asa and Tal. They’re all too new. I know I can’t spend decades letting characters marinate my head before writing their story, or at least making a go of it. I still feel the press of time, the weight of mortality, and a tiny part of my brain is continuously freaking out about how much I am not getting done. But I gave that part a little too loud of a voice, and I stopped enjoying what I was doing. Writing turned back into a deadly grindstone and my stories were suffering for it. Writing can be a drag, and sometimes you have to just push through. But I’ve been pushing and pushing and not getting anywhere.
So now I’m shoving that voice back into its box. I’m ignoring the looming shadow of the Agent Auction House and all the dread that comes along with that. The time I’ve spent on these other projects aren’t entire losses by any means; I can use plenty of the material generated for Pleasing the Sea and Faylinn when it’s time for me to work on them. But that time, it seems, is not now. When I finally decided to return to Ravens, I knew it was the right choice because I actually feel… happy. Eager. Excited. I got so far with the manuscript but stalled out on a few key scenes. There won’t be as much actual writing over the next month and a half. It will be a lot of reading, research, and deliberate crafting to get those last pieces done so I can start editing “for realisies” rather than the piecemeal hackjob I’ve been doing as I reread chapters.
I don’t plan on kicking the bucket anytime soon; hopefully no one I care about is either. But existence doesn’t care about human plans, and if there can be only one officially published book with my name on it before I die, then I want that book to be Ravens and Roses.