It takes a long time to write a book, and get it out there. I was meeting with Grant Searcey to discuss getting his help designing the dragons for my WiP (Work in Progress), The Wyvern. I knew I could do this on my own, but I also knew this was something he could have quite a lot of fun with as well—and it would give my dragon an edge I don’t have. With one of the main themes of my book, the dragon being different from my own concept is also a very good thing. He was worried that he wouldn’t be able to start on the drawing for another month and a half. I had to laugh. “I haven’t even finished the draft, and I still have to send it off to my experts when I’m done. They still have to read it, and comment, before I revise.” I told him. I could add his version of the dragon to that revision process.
Last year, I finished a manuscript I call Forgotten Gods—and everyone I told the concept about was very entertained. I’m sure they think I’ve forgotten it. It’s not published, obviously. I still have to revise, and polish. I generally give my first drafts some distance, so write another book. That way I can look at it with fresh eyes. Frankly there’s yet another unfinished draft that has so many freaky ties to The Wyvern that I still sometimes shiver at the connections that are building between them, and with the ideas for what I would have considered a second book following that incomplete draft. (Sometimes my slow process turns up surprising gold that helps develop the world building. I’d love to be a writer that can just pop things out, but time after time I get those unexpected connections—as if a book I thought was a solo story has merely been waiting for another to be written. I’m learning to trust this).
When I finish The Wyvern’s rough draft, I’ll be sending it to various experts in their field—a fireman, a cop with some FBI training, a Paralympic archer, and a teacher of HEMA (Historical European Martial Arts). So, I’m absolutely sure that Grant can take his time working on the dragon, even if I have to change some of my current rough draft descriptions. A revision is required in any case; I’ll have to make changes my experts suggest as well. Regardless, it might be a long, long time before the book gets published.
Some of the books I’ve spoken of—that some beta readers think quite ready for publication (though they never got snapped up by the various agents or editors I’ve sent them to)—were written over ten years ago. With ten complete drafts of different novels—some that will never see the light of the published page, ever, ever, ever—I have only braved publishing one. I am hoping to publish another book by the end of this year. But still: I doubt The Wyvern, or any other upcoming WiP will be published soon after I talk about them, write about them on Facebook, or blog about them here. I’m beginning to think I should just shut up about them, no matter how good a time I am having working on them. (Writing The Wyvern has been ridiculously fun!)
Perhaps it will get easier for me to NOT talk about my WiP when I have more books published. Any WiP is like some fantasy. It’s a concept, an idea that you can’t even really share with people. It’s not even like some philosophical construct that has some purpose. It is rare you get to let people play along (like Grant). I might be working on it, and a few people might get a peek at it, but… but it’s still unreal. It remains unreal till it’s published. I can talk and talk and talk about it, but it’s like a pretend boyfriend. No one gets to meet him. Published books, are very different. People can hold a book in their hands—even if it’s on their Kindle or Nook. They can read them, and have their own ideas and visions. Readers get to participate. They get to see, and believe.
The WiP is a dream—a personal dream—and that is, sometimes, hard to share.