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!