I officially started up writing my next novel in the Into the Realms Series last night. Book Three will be called Pyurik’s Pursuit, by the way, and will hopefully be the best one yet (though naturally, I think the first two are very, very good as well!). Each of these rather hefty novels have taken me somewhere around two years apiece to write, and I expect that PP will be no different. They’re long novels, but not particularly overlong when compared to other books in the fantasy genre, I should think. They’re all elaborate, complicated stories with dozens of characters and places to explore, with intertwining plotlines to manage, and tying it all together to make it comprehensible, let alone eloquent, is quite a daunting challenge. But it is a challenge which I relish, and if I can one day complete the entirety of my envisioned five-book quintilogy of the series, I will consider it a major achievement of my life’s work completed (at this point, two-fifths completed).
So it’s on to Book Three now, and once again, I’m faced with that old familiar nemesis, the same foe every single writer has faced whenever he or she takes on a new project – the blank page. Presumably, it should be easier when it’s a continuation in a series of books, as you should just be able to keep the story going. Unfortunately, in many ways, series books are even harder to start. You have to begin writing with an expectation that the reader, if not necessarily is picking up the middle book of a series to read first, is at least picking up a book in a series that he or she hasn’t read for quite a while. A re-introduction of characters and events is definitely called for.
But starting with a blank slate is so hard, because there’s so much to accomplish right off the bat, you hardly know how to begin. For a novel that will ultimately be a quarter of a million words long and some 600+ pages, invariably, it’s that first page that’s the hardest to write. Some authors prefer to start writing further in to the story to begin with, to kind of get the feel of writing the story before going back to do the beginning, but I’m generally a strict linear writer, so it’s not something I’m comfortable doing. Time is linear, and events are always crafted by what’s come before, so my feeling is that for my stories to happen organically, my writing has to do the same. So I start with the blank page and go from there.
Even on a slow writing night, I can usually scrape up a thousand words or so, making slow but steady progress on the job. More often though, I’ll get close to 2,000 words or even 3,000 or more on a really productive writing session. Last night, in Pyurik’s Pursuit’s inaugural writing night, I managed to pound out a scant 220 words. Just two opening paragraphs which are dwarfed by this little blog post I’ve written here right now, and an opening to the book which will be chopped and carved up later on as I reread it again and again. But the page is no longer blank, and hopefully, my next writing session will make more headway skinning that cat, and it’ll get easier and easier each time until I start to cruise into it, until two years from now, I’ll finally be finished – and then it’s on to Book Four.
Whatever it takes to get started.