That didn't take long.
I put that on my to-do list, thinking it would just be fun to cross it off when I was ready to start something new. I didn't think it would be right away; I've been trying to make another pass through that fantasy novel, and I've got so many other half-finished works...
But I've been in a funk. It's been weighing me down for a while now. It's like I'm in a movie or video game, in that moment where you've been knocked down and the world starts its slow fade to black. The edges were getting dark, man. I needed a little light.
So the (somewhat) sequel to Circles in the Dust begins.
I hate to call it that, because it's not really a sequel. The story will take place in the same universe, but in a time way after the events of Circles - after those characters have all passed on, in fact. If Circles was about what would happen to the world in a bleak tomorrow, this one takes place in a dismal week-after-next.
I've had a lot of ideas buzzing around in my head lately, snippets of images and characters and I had no idea what to do with them. None of them fit into a unified theme, a plot; they were all just floating around, disconnected fragments.
Then the other day I was walking down by the river and saw a marmot, which was pretty cool all by itself, and the story just all came together.
I spent some time writing a book about early modern people, survivors of an ice age, and so I would say that I've spent a good deal of time trying to get into the mindset of a hunter-gatherer, and when I saw that marmot, sitting in the grass watching me as I went by (one of the big fat scouts that squeaked to let the rest of them know I was coming so they would hide), it was only a few feet away and I couldn't help but think how easy it would be to hunt it. It was so close I could have rushed it with a spear or something, and they're chunky little things, so it would make a decent meal. I thought about using a bow, and then a crossbow, one of the smaller, one-handed deals you can get at a sporting goods store.
And that was the hole in the dam; everything rushed out, all the ideas I'd been holding onto, and I saw the next story I should write. It was that little crossbow. I had my first chapter, and then I had my main character using that thing, and then I saw her living in the ruins of a city and I could have wet my pants I was so damn excited.
Tonight I started writing it, and I feel that same elation again. It's nerve-wracking, starting a new story. After I opened up a new Word document and was staring at my computer I was thinking about how I hadn't felt butterflies in my stomach like that in a long time. It reminded me of how nervous I used to get around girls I thought were cute, and one in particular (you know who you are). Same feeling - anything could happen, so much could go wrong but in that moment it was all that mattered and it could go so right. God dammit, but it's an exciting feeling. I had to go outside and get some air just to calm myself before I could write the first words.
I'm going to finish this one, too. I've got too much of it all figured out in my head, and it's fresh. This was just how I started my first two novels and I finished those. Then I tried doing a bunch of research for the next few novels I wanted to write, plotting things out, thinking I needed to have everything set in stone, or at least considered, before I put my hands on a keyboard, and by now I think it's safe to say that's not my style.
Back to my roots (have I even been doing this long enough to say that?).