Now What?

On Sunday I finished the first draft of Fated to Darkness and since then…I have felt like a lost puppy. I’ve sat on my desk chair spinning in a circle because I haven’t known what to work on. I’m so used to working on FtD for so long now that it feels weird to not be working on it, to not be pushing for that end scene yet.

I feel so lost.

There’s still a very palpable sense of grappling for straws on the reality of completing this novel right now. The “now what?” feeling as I try to figure out what I’m supposed to be doing. It’s been five days since I finished the novel, but I’m still staring somewhat dumbfounded at the binder that holds my concordance for FtD and at my other WiPs with an “aaaaahhhh….” kind of expression. I could almost just flip a coin to try to figure out what I’m doing.

Granted, there are many, many things I could be doing now.

For starters I could get back to working on Clockwork Heart like I wanted to use part of Camp for. I could use the rest of the year, or however long it takes, to work on that novella/novel. Or I could go back to the very first novel I ever started writing, Breaking Point, and continue that. (The more I look at that novel though the more I need to do some outlining and brainstorming and probably a title change too. To what though I have no idea…sort of.) I could even start outlining Shapeshifter Wings and start work on that. Then there’s the option of starting one of the plentiful, new novel ideas kicking around in my head — like Alice in Court, or Book 2 to The Dark Heir series, or the horse ranch storyline that’s been kicking around up there since I was little that actually has a title and subtitle already.

Or, I could forgo novel work for the time being and start on some short stories. I could write the sequel to The Black Lake, or redo that story altogether to make it better then do the sequel. Or expand and fix up The Beast. I could also poke around at Seductress and see if it leads me anywhere beyond the vague storyline and grand ball scene it has.

On the other hand, I could refocus my efforts to editing instead of writing. I don’t mean editing Fated to Darkness. No no. That is going to sit and wait until I can come back with fresher eyes. I mean that I could take this time now and focus on re-editing, polishing, and maybe expanding Rivers of Black more. The thought has crossed my mind to try to publish the story, but I’m not going to explore that spurt of consciousness any further yet. I don’t want to think about publishing right now…

The fact I have finished the first draft of Fated to Darkness doesn’t mean it’s not going to be touched at all until I’m ready to edit though. I won’t let it collect dust for a couple months. I still have a binder concordance I need to flesh out and finish, and there are multiple notes within my book that I need to find a way to organize and put together in a notebook or something so that as I go along and edit and answer the questions I left myself I’ll be able to avoid plot holes or errors.

There’s still quite a lot of work to do on FtD before I get to the true editing phase. So while I spend the rest of the year — I’m hoping to be done before December, because…holiday — finishing the concordance and finding a way to organize those notes and questions to myself, I am going to be working on something else as well. I would like an entire month of letting FtD sit completely ready for edits before I do dive into full on scrutiny paper edits, but until then there’s lots left to do.

My tentative plan right now as I start to get the ball rolling again is to get working on the concordance and an organization technique for the notes/questions I left. In doing that, I will be reading through my entire novel, which also means that while I’m reading I can minimally fix light edits. Say a missed word, or the wrong version of a word, missing quotation marks, and so forth. The things that won’t require me stopping for an hour on one paragraph to make it sound the best it can possibly be. Doing this will make the paper edits a little less daunting in red marks.

That’s the plan for Fated to Darkness from here till December. *Prays I can be ready by then*

Because I don’t want to lose the next six or seven months with no writing to show for it — well, that wouldn’t have happened anyways because of July’s Camp NaNo and November’s NaNo — I am going to work on something alongside the next stage of FtD. I believe that “now what?” feeling is going to be geared toward writing Clockwork Heart and trying to finish that story this year, as well as re-editing Rivers of Black.

Actually, my original goal of May was to re-edit Rivers of Black finally since I kind of failed on that one last year. Perhaps that will actually happen now that FtD is done. Then again, I had expected Clockwork Heart to only be a short story and already be done by this time too, but…

Yeah, the universe hasn’t been kind to me this year in more ways than one.

But that’s the plan for now. I guess I’ll see how it works out, though I don’t have many expectations for it. I’ve learned better at this point. The hardest part I think is going to be finding a balance between these three projects now when my life is already so screwy and unpredictable.

Or, maybe, the hardest part is going to be finding the heart that says it’s worth it again…