Let me be honest with you. I promise I’ll go back to giving advice and telling stories next time, but I’m eyeballs-deep in revisions for #3, and struggling with it, and there are some things I need to say. Bear with me, please.
This thing, this writing thing—this art thing—doesn’t get easier. My experience has been that the farther you go along the road, the harder it gets. The more aware I am of How Writing Works, the more difficult it is. The more aware I am of how many choices there are to convey the message, the more aware I am of what I’m doing in a particular section …it’s just harder. Harder to get the words flowing. Harder to choose them.
Some of this might be particular to writing a series like I am. One of the problems I keep running into, if it is actually a problem, is that every word I write, every pass I make, I’m getting pulled more deeply into the characters’ minds and hearts. I love them so much—and it hurts me when they suffer. I can’t back down, but it hurts more.
Some of it might be that I’m sharing my private brain playground with so many others that, just a few months ago, I wasn’t. They’re not really mine anymore, these people I love. And it was easier when they were. The love other people bear for Dingus and Vandis, for Kessa and Krakus, is still surprising and new for me; I am still used to having them all to myself. As high as my own standards were and are, they are higher now that I have people reading whose opinions I care about and whom I desperately want to please.
Oath Bound is the end of an era, in a lot of ways, and when I am finished I’ll turn and dive where the dark things live. I’m nervous about it. I’m nervous about the whole thing, and on top of that the writing is harder. The characters are hitting more challenges. That means I am, too, and I’m learning as I go, learning—I think, I hope—a lot. But it doesn’t get easier.
I have so much more to learn. There’s so much more I want to show you. Do you know that? I’m pulling up from the depths of my internal landscape, and I don’t even know how deep it goes. There’s more. But #4 has been taking me ages to draft. I’m trying to do so many things with it. It’s the most intimidating project I’ve ever taken on. I don’t know that I’m even halfway done. So that won’t be coming right away.
There are some other Rothganar projects I’m working on. I’m doing a shorter book, a novella, about Wallace MacNair, to release in between. People need their fix, I need to tell this story in particular, and I need to build backlist, because this is my job now.
Holy crap. It’s my job. The dream that I’ve dreamed, in the back of my mind and in front of it, for as long as I can remember, is true.
I’m a writer. So really, all of this is worth it.