July 12th, 2007

bear by san

we are not monsters. we're moral people.

One of the reasons the Presumptuous Cat is the Presumptuous Cat is that she presumes that she would like to sleep on your pillow. Not next to your head, mind you, but exactly wherever your head happens to be. So she winds up chasing me across the bed all night, because it's hard to breathe with a cat on your face.

Even a small cat.

Gee, golly. My neck hurts. Wonder why.

It hasn't sunk in yet that the book is over with for a while. Since I got home from Readercon I've been sleeping too much (for me, which means, other than the one 11-hour crash, I've been sleeping about as much as a normal person does) and as a direct result, I could Not Get Tired last night. So I wound up going to bed around 2 am because I Knew I Really Should, and then lying there unsleepy while the cat tried to suffocate me for an hour or so before I finally dropped off. Anyway, I woke up this morning at 5:30, planning my workday, and it took me half an hour of lying in bed going "Maybe I should get up?" to remember that the Puritans are on vacation this week.

So I slept in until seven. Ahhh, luxury. (N.B: I am not a morning person in the sense of not being a night person. I am a morning person in the sense of not being an afternoon person, and if I could get away with it, I think I would probably sleep between the hours of say, eleven AM and five PM, because it's not like anything gets *done* then anyway. Alas, the world seems to want me around during siesta.

Foolish world.)

Anyway, the reward for being up before eight is that it's a gorgeous morning, and if I had any sense I'd get out there in it. The heat has broken (We'll see how long that lasts for) and the saturating haze that's been hovering over the river valley for the last few days has lifted, so it's crisp and clear outside, and the sky is blue as a candy dish and dotted with white smears of cloud.

And I don't have anywhere to be until one. So I think I'm going to shower and put some jeans on and maybe sit by the windows and read, since I am sadly without a balcony. Because that sounds pretty nice.

And *probably* won't involve me speculating on whether cat tastes like chicken, or like rabbit.

My to-do list for the next two years, not counting CEMs, galleys, editorial rewrites, reading about a hundred books, and other unpredictable thingies.... behind the cut.

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That's not as much as it looks like, actually, because both TStM and P&F are puntable to 2009, if necessary, and Wehrwolf and Bone & Jewel Creatures are novellas, not novels. And the only things on that list that I haven't been working on for at least a year (In some cases, I've been working on this stuff for the better part of a decade) are a couple of the short stories. "Shoggoths in Bloom" and "Skull Ring" are relatively new ideas.

*g* I have this reputation for writing fast. But really, what I do it write consistently. The most important thing to realize is that wordcount isn't really a useful metric for most purposes. It's good for me, because I work on so many projects in parallel, and tracking it allows me to have an idea of whether I can fit anything else into my schedule.

250,000 words a year is comfortably doable. I know, it sounds daunting, but that's under 700 words a day when you break it down into bite-sized chunks, and as long as I keep it coming, I'm in good shape. And can even take time off for cons and just plain fucking-around days. Sometimes? You need a just plain fucking-around day.

So yes. I am prolific. And I can, in fact, produce three books a year, though I'm hoping to taper that off some when the current crop of contracts are up. Because as much as I love my job, there is a level of working one's ass off that might be pushing one's self a little too hard.

This is one of the ways that my weird brain is useful (as opposed to all the ways that it's a pain in the ass.) Because it can, in fact, work on three or four novels in parallel, and a bunch of short stories. (The usual pattern is to finish a novel draft and then have two or three short stories that I've been thinking about for the past six or eighteen months fall out of my head in the aftermath.)

But yanno, while I've been rewriting All the Windwracked Stars yet a-freaking-gain* (for perspective, I wrote the first version of "Ice" in 1994. Approximately. Unless it was 1993. It was when I was working at PiP Printing, so it might have been winter of 1993-1994, or it might have been the legendary winter of 1994-1995... in any case, I'm pretty sure I was freezing my ass off on a regular basis when I wrote it. Ahem. But I digress.) I've also been thinking about Chill (and reading still more neurology!) and I've been working on Patience & Fortitude in the back of my head, and worrying about what the heck I'm going to do to TStM--(I think the verdict is, just pretend I never wrote it in the first place, and start from scratch. There's nothing in that original draft worth saving except the characters and the world. And a few fragments of plot.)--and doing all that back-of-brain stuff that I need to do to get the book to happen when it needs to happen.

I'm really profoundly lucky that I can do this. It's the secret to my success, and it's the reason I can sit down and write a book like Whiskey & Water in what appears to be four months of intense effort. It's because the first fifty pages of Patience & Fortitude has been sitting on my hard drive since 2006, and I've been thinking about elements of the book since summer of 2005, while I was still working on Whiskey & Water. Of which I had written the first fifty pages in 2003 or so, or maybe 2002. Because it was originally supposed to be the same book as One-Eyed Jack & The Suicide King, which was actually written before Whiskey & Water, and I got seventy-five pages in and went "Well, crap, this is two books. Time to separate the Siamese twins..." and OEJ was started in 2003 and finished by January, I think, of 2004?

And the whole Promethean Age universe, I shit you not, dates back to 1980mumble or so, when I was in junior high school, which is when the earliest bits of Blood & Iron, then called Shadowhand, date from. Ideawise, anyway. I would say that there are probably, oh, ten original sentences left in that book?** (The original title of Whiskey & Water, some twenty years ago when I first started planning it out, was A Glass of Rain, for your amusement. Patience & Fortitude was very amorphous in my head, and back then I thought it was going to be about Keith, because Matthew hadn't yet metastasized. And it was working-titled The Wolf & The Heather, and I knew twenty years ago that someday I would be writing the damned thing. ***

So that one was the original Noun & Noun I R SERUS FANTASIST THIS R SERUS FANTASY NOVL title.. (an amusing aside: if you check the wikipedia entry for the ballad "Tam Lin," you will discover that many of us ripping off the classics using traditional sources seem to have gravitated to the And & And title. coffeeem and skzbrust have the clear win for coolness, though.)

Oh, yeah, you are getting the unedited stream of consciousness eBear today. Sorry about that. (Imagine what my fiction used to be like, and shudder.... nay, quail....)

*I have no actual idea how many drafts this thing is in. Two major restructures, anyway, and a nearly complete rip-and-replace this last time.

**One of them is "Don't touch that, boy. You don't know where it's been." Another one is "He was glorious as he came to kill her." And Mist's little speech about what you sell and give away....

***Originally, it was going to be a graphic novel. And then this guy you've probably never heard of, Matt Wagner, came out with a graphic novel called Mage, that never did anything really.**** And I went "Well, fuck it," and got on with my life. Novels! Novels are great! Novels don't require hiring an artist!*****

****That's wry ironicism. In case you missed it.

*****Worked out okay, anyway.