So in the last couple of weeks I’ve had a number of people ask me what I’m working on and when the next book is out.  So I thought I’d give an update.
For all my jokes, Leg-gedon lost me a lot of time. I really had to focus on so many things – building the strength of the leg back up, ultra restrictive diet, etc. – that I lost a lot of creative energy.  I realise that sounds a bit wanky but sitting at a desk with one leg outstretched and elevated really isn’t the most comfortable position to write.  And when you’re in a ridiculous amount of pain and genuinely worried whether you’re still going to have a leg weeks down the road, you just can’t absorb yourself in your writing as much as you want.  Whilst I managed to get a lot of work done all things considered, my productivity was in areas where I did not need to be sat over a computer for hours, such as improving my process to increase my productivity, working on plotting out a few novels, etc.  It’s probably taken 8 months to get back to the level I was at before the event but I feel I’ve come back stronger, quicker as well as more creative and productive.

The sequel to The Four Realms, The Thieving King, has been through two drafts.  One of the things that’s been really holding it back is that in both drafts the characters tread water in the second act.  In writing terms we call this “lacking agency” but to give a good example of this, it’s a bit like the first half of Harry Potter & The Deadly Hallows where Harry and Hermione seem to wander around forests with no plan of action and sit around waiting for things to happen.  Now, maybe I’m being unfair on that book (I still love it, but I’m sorry the first half  of Deadly Hallows REALLY drags) however, the second act in the Thieving King really, really bugs me.  And so, because I can and it’s my name on this book,  I’m currently reworking some elements to make the story work better on the page.  It’s still the same story. – Maureen and Darwin will be back with events picking up from the second the last book finished – but I’m changing some things around to make it a more entertaining read.  I’m still playing around with parts of the plot and looking to start a third draft at the start of the new year.  I want to deliver a better book than the first and it’s really starting to shape up into something epic!
In the meantime, I want to put writing time to good use, to test out and refine those processes I developed when I wasn’t able to crack on with the writing.  I’ve got a novel I plotted out that I’ve been really excited about.  It’s more traditional sword and sorcery than The Four Realms and set in a completely different universe.  I’ve just passed 60,000 words on this first draft which is normally the time I start feeling  like anything I’m working on is a terrible novel and I have no place writing anything, ever.  But I’m loving it and I’m motoring my way through this draft.  I think some of the new process work has helped build a much stronger story which feeds into it being a much easier write.  It’s still going to need a lot of editing down the road (mainly because I’ve had a lot less time to worldbuild this universe) but I’m hoping to get this first draft complete by Xmas.
Inbetween these I have been writing some short stories and I want to continue to write and improve on these as I outlined yesterday.  I possibly want to use them as ways to write some darker more experimental stuff.  I’ve also got my monthly columns at Fantasy-Faction and GPSTracklog that are ongoing.
Going forward, I think work will turn out a lot quicker.  If Leg-gedon has done anything, it’s made me take a long hard look at my working process and make some radical changes that should improve both quality and productivity going forward.   That means better stories faster.  That’s my aim and I’ll continue to refine my processes to make this happen.