Or maybe I’ve always been in the desert, waiting.
That didn’t take long. Twelve days ago I finished writing/editing a new novel. In my self-congratulatory post I said that I expected to move straight on to the next book, which meant revisiting a text that I’d written ten years ago. That earlier book had originally been written in five parts, alternating between present and past, between France and America. Two years ago I split this book up. I took the two American parts, shuffled them around, and added a lot of new material in order to come up with what I envisioned as the first book in a series. Now for the fifth installment in the series I’ve gone back to the three French parts of the old manuscript. In reading it through I was pleased to discover that the French story holds together nicely even after excising the American “back story.” I did some minor editing and cleaned up the sutures where I’d performed my radical removal surgeries on the old text. That left me with 72K words — a bit short, but 12K longer than the novel I just finished writing. Yesterday I added a very short final chapter linking this old/new book with the one to follow. This morning I had second thoughts about the new ending, so I wrote a second, even shorter one. Then I wrote a third, shorter still. The fourth and the fifth alternative endings are each only one sentence long. I’ve decided to leave all the endings in place for now, awaiting further developments in the as-yet unwritten book to follow. The quote at the top of this post is the fifth ending, which is also the last sentence in the book.
So that’s the fifth book down, and the seventh one is already written. The one in between, the sixth book, will require more thought and the cultivation of a higher level of intensity. I’m not quite sure what I need to do to get ready for it. To tell the truth, it scares me a little.