September 23rd, 2013

good mris pic

The Spy From Atlantis: draft done, surprise!

Two weeks ago I wrote this post about brain momentum and my hope that I could bleed off some of that momentum into a novel.

That…didn’t entirely happen. I mean, I channeled that momentum into a novel. That much is clear. But…okay, look. I finished the draft of that novel, The Spy from Atlantis today. First draft, all done, there we go, book. That means that in the last month I’ve written five short stories and 2/3 of a book. This…is a personal record. (I still have two days left in that month, and the thought scares me a little.)

Early this year I got completely stuck and bogged down on this book. And I eventually wrote, “MORE BOOK GOES HERE” in the manuscript (in the place where more book went! and I was right, more book did go there!). And then I reminded myself that I was not on deadline, that there was no reason to make myself miserable writing that book right then, that I could just write something else.

So I did.

And then two weeks ago, more or less, I opened the file and wrote a thousand words like it was nothing. And I knew what other words went in it. It was just a matter of letting them out. Elise says Mike called this “finding the spigot.” I can’t explain it, but that spigot got found.

The thing is, I’m not yet sure it’s off. On Friday, when I was assessing what was left, I was pretty sure I was going to finish today. And there is a part of my brain that chimed in, “Oh good! Then we can work on [three other story ideas] on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, before things get really going for Farthing Party.”


Seriously, there is stuff to do, and my wrists and back could really use a break. So…maybe an average of less than 4K a day is something to shoot for. Just a thought. The three rules I made, once it became clear that I was going to be writing this book NOW NOW NOW were:

No ruining my hands.

No ruining my health.

No ruining my relationships.

So I have done things like continuing to eat the same reasonable-or-better levels of food, continuing to work out and sleep, continuing to get together with friends and family, etc. They are good rules.

I just. It will be nice if I don’t need quite such a reminder that they are the rules for awhile here.

Still! Book! I am pleased, and I had fun. All the fun that was missing on this book earlier this year was back in abundance. Yay go book. I will revise it when I’m not in Montreal. I will let it marinate for a bit. But in the meantime: book! Yay go book!


The Incrementalists, by Steven Brust and Skyler White

Review copy provided by Tor. My additional involvement will become clear when you open the book: I’m in the acknowledgments for having read an early draft and commented upon it.

The final version is even better (and not, I think, because of anything I said!). When I was done I just sat with it for a moment. (Possibly that may be the writing-induced exhaustion talking, but I prefer to think of it as art appreciation.) But that’s just general squishy feelings. What’s in this book?

Well, there are immortals of sorts. Partial immortals? Memory immortals? There are some quasi-literalizations of memory palaces in ways that are awesome. There’s also poker and new relationships and the blessed ties that bind, gag, and throw you in the metaphorical trunk of the metaphorical car. (Okay, we all know I should not be allowed near metaphors when I’m tired. And yet I keep proving it.) There is trust misplaced and trust very well placed indeed.

Also there is Las Vegas and poker, and while I have minuscule interest in either of those things, there is a magical ability possibly induced by membership in/proximity to the Scribblies, to make me care about desert stories I would otherwise yawn and depart from. (CoughEmmacough.)

I have hopes that in future Incrementalists books (see what I did there?) we will see more of the distant-past memories, more of the pivots and switches that go way back. I liked the centuries-old bits of this one, and I liked the flashes of even more; I liked the layering, where someone with thousands of years of memories will find the new ones fresher in a way analogous to how last week is fresher to me when I was 4–except the important things that happened when I was 4.

This is urban fantasy not doing the same thing as a dozen other urban fantasies. It is a fast read. It is Zelazny-influenced without leaning too hard on the First Person Asshole narration that can sink a Zelazny. It is worth your time. And hey! Look at that! It comes out in the morning.

Originally published at Novel Gazing Redux