Okay, I know it's not Christmas Eve, but I needed the end to rhyme with sleeves and nothing else fit the meter of the line, so bite me. Not really, that hurts.
THE POINT IS: I finished the first draft of Book Five!!! At 4 AM (morning before last) and I could not feel more relieved! Book Five was H.A.R.D. And also, in some respects, the easiest yet. (If you're just now learning how fickle my emotional state is when talking about my books, that's your own fault.)
It was so...I better not say. No, I can't. No, REALLY, I can't. Even talking about how it made me feel might give things away. But, I will say this, it turned out exactly like (possibly better than) I wanted it to. And it's all been planned from the beginning. So, I feel good about it.
Oh yeah, and I can tell you this, too, it's the longest book so far. By nearly a hundred pages. Who knew it would take that long to tell this part of the story? I sure as heck didn't. But, there you have it.
And now, on the threshold of Book Six, at the precipice of the plot points therein, to which I have been looking most forward for a year and a half now, I announce that I am taking a small reprieve from my literary excursions. Why, you may ask? Well, I'll tell you. Because I want to consume for a while. I want to delight in the fancies of art, which, I indeed do concurrently with writing, but now I want to do so exclusively, in order to cleanse my mental palate and prepare for what comes next. It's so exciting--the list of books/films/albums/essays/speeches/tv shows/artists' portfolios I have wanted to explore and study for decades (literally plural--God, am I that old?) is finally being compiled in the physical world and not just my brain juice. I am making the most awesome Excel spreadsheet of art study you've ever seen! But, probably you haven't seen one at all, because I am the only (huge) dork who has ever made such a thing. I don't care. I'm so excited. And I'm not just allowing myself the time, but I'm obligating myself to do this. I finally get to finish reading the Brontes and Poe and Virginia Woolf and...we could be here a while. So I don't know how long this will take, I may take a month off, which doesn't seem like much to any of you, since I'm technically still 4 books up on you, but that's a really long time for me to not be writing. (I don't know if I can do it, honestly, and that's why I'm not setting a time frame.) Usually--actually, with every other book before this, I finish a first draft, then the NEXT day, I start the first draft of the next one. I can't help it, I'm always so excited. But, not this time.
Book Six is already so incredibly close to my heart that I want to make sure I do it justice. There is a very distinct and real possibility that Book Five marked a turning point in the series, the likes of which cannot be undone, diluted, or hidden. What's more, I want Book Six to be different, to stand out, to carry its own weight, if you will. Its themes will be autonomous and at least partly self-containing. Meaning Book Six will stand out even amongst subsequent installments. There's no way around it. Every book is going to be different and this one especially. I think every writer thinks about the Harry Potter Factor to some degree (the flow of the series, the common themes, the proverbial nature of a well-developed world with fully-dimensional characters) but as far as keeping every book in this series on the same time measure, I confess it's not going to happen. Perhaps with other series I write. There is one series I'm writing that will definitely have that common, proverbial, rhythmic nature throughout. It's just not Lone March. So, while each book will continue to maintain the overall arc of March's story, they will also be quite individualistically styled.
So, this break could be two weeks or a month or maybe a couple of months (doubtful I can hold out that long) but whatever it ends up being, I want you all to know it's for the good of the writing, so that I can give March the story she deserves...Especially after Book Five.
WHOA!!!! Did I just totally and completely drop a hint about a book you won't read for at least another year and a half??!! That's mean of me.
Anyway, I'm off to finish my Art Studies List. If any of you would like to offer a recommendation for a book/film/band/basically anything that inspires you, feel free to leave a comment with your faves:)
P.S. Even though it's not Christmas Eve, we can still do that jig thing if you want.