I haven't been posting much the last few days, not because of the site upgrade that temporarily borked my blogging software (or because of the idiotic self-inflicted political chaos that has become the hallmark of this moment in time) but because I've been up to the elbows and shins in writing the first draft of The Fall Of The Hammer. A couple of insights have already surfaced.
One, it still doesn't feel like I'm writing another book yet. Maybe it'll only fully sink in once I start the second draft. This is a feeling I've encountered once or twice before, but it dissipated before I could study it in any depth. My temptation is to think of it in romanticized terms, to say "Isn't all the best work really treated like play?", but I know that's not a fully honest way to think about the issue. I think the problem is that the work remained very abstract, arm's-length, up until the point I started writing it for real.
This leads into insight #2. This is one of the murkier and more difficult-to-manage first drafts I've ever dealt with. It means there may need to be a much longer and more involved second draft process than I usually go through, one where I treat the first draft more like raw material rather than something to be line-edited. This has usually been my policy anyway, but it seems doubly important in light of how this whole experience has unfolded so far.
I'm normally pretty good at previsualizing my work, but this time it's been far more of a challenge. Not because the work itself is more complex than what I've tackled before, but because its details are only now receiving the real focus they need to have. Any work typically only comes into total focus when I set about writing it, but this one was in greater need of that first-draft-focus than I realized.
It's all OK in the end, though. Every book presents its own path. This one was meant to be a quicker path end-to-end because of its relatively short word count, but if the process of revision means I end up spending more time on it, it's fine. As long as it isn't two and a half years!