I’m writing as fast as I can . . .

Maxwell Book 3 is almost done. I’ve got a couple of thousand words to whip into shape tomorrow, then it goes out to beta readers.  I’ve asked them to have their responses back to me within a week, so that I can edit and chop and change as necessary; then it’s hi-ho for the Christmas shopping season. I’m tentatively scheduling publication for December 2nd, but it might happen a few days before then, if all goes well.

I’m still learning a great deal about the craft of writing. (I daresay if I ever stop learning, the time will have come to put me in a box and bury me!)  I’m also trying an experiment.  Up till now, I’ve tried to develop the plot lines of my Maxwell books as elements of the whole series, from his youth to the culmination of his career.  It’ll probably span a dozen books, similar to the Hornblower series, but with each book stand-alone and not growing to perpetual infodump levels like some other space opera.  However, that also constrains me within a framework where I must follow a plot line, and include elements in one book that set the scene for the next. (For example, one of the main plot lines in Maxwell Book 1 will be resolved in Book 4, only to have that resolution set the scene for further developments several books down the road.)

I’ve found that my creative juices sometimes dry up whilst trying to ‘think inside the box’ like that; so I’ve started an experiment. I’ve begun writing a fantasy novel that has no plot or structure planned at all.  I’m writing it ‘by the seat of my pants’, letting it flow where it will. It’s a stress relief, if you like.  Whenever I get too frustrated at not being able to make my current Maxwell chapter fit the plot or structure I need, I can take a few hours off and whack out a few thousand words of stream-of-consciousness writing in a completely different genre.  So far I’m enjoying it very much. I’m not promising it’ll be published, but if it works out, who knows? I may bounce it off a few regular readers in due course, to ask them what they think.  We’ll see.

Meanwhile, it’s trousers to the grindstone for tomorrow night and my beta reader deadline.  Wish me luck!



  1. Have you read The Hornblower Companion? In it, Forester explains that he had intended to write only one book (Beat To Quarters) about Hornblower, and then expanded the man's career in both directions. Hornblower During The Crisis, which he did not live to finish, would have been only the fourth in chronology. Surely writers all have their different methods, but it was interesting to me to read Forester's description of his methods, and I'd be interested to know your opinion thereof.

  2. take a few hours off and whack out a few thousand words
    Funny to read that just now. I've been sitting here summarizing two decent-sized medical research projects (i.e. each involving thousands of subjects, with multiple covariates and response variables) into discrete packages of 1300 characters (exclusive of spaces) and up to a 10×10-cell table for submission to a scientific conference. One gets used to the process, but it's sure a reminder about brevity and wit and all that. (Deliberately misinterpreting the quote.)

    perpetual infodump levels like some other space opera
    Honor? Honor? It feels like David Weber got seriously bored somewhere just after War of Honor. Which I guess isn't surprising as Honor was supposed to die in the Battle of Manticore in his original vision, IIRC.

    The main Honorverse series now seems like a walking corpse horribly reanimated into some bizzare relitigation of slavery in America. Much as I respect Eric Flint for his pioneering work on the whole Baen eBook Free Library thing I'm very disappointed by the whole Audubon Ballroom/MESA business (which I am attributing to him, perhaps incorrectly, but I think not). The series went from Hornblower in space (with political backdrop I find agreeable) to some gigantic conspiracy theory.

  3. @LoFanJohn: Yes, I know the Companion. It's interesting to see how Hornblower was never intended to be a series at all, but grew out of one successful novel.

    I planned Maxwell as a series, and worked out a basic plot progression for all the books before I wrote them (although it's changed over time). I'm writing according to that timeline. The new fantasy novel is a liberating experience, in that I can do what I like, say what I like, and I have no idea where it's going. Who knows? It may end up as a trilogy, or something like that – but not longer, I think. We'll see.

  4. Heh, heh, I thought I'd write a little novella loosely based on a historical figure. Four novels later . . . Beware the siren song of "just a little something different." 🙂

    LittleRed1 (Also known as Alma T.C. Boykin)

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