Monday, December 31, 2012

closing the books

Here is how I ended my work year yesterday: I hit send twice.

I sent a brand new and exceedingly strange novel to my agent, and then a few minutes later I sent him a new short story, too.

As a general rule, I am not one of those writers who ever talks about WIPs or how many words I'm producing on a given day. I don't have a problem with people who do that stuff; I realize it's one method by which some writers remain focused and disciplined, maybe. I won't even say the title of the book, so it will from here on be referred to as My Most Recently Finished Novel Which Includes A Non-Prime Numeral In Its Title.

But now I can talk.

Yesterday, I told a friend about this latest novel. Usually when I finish something I like to take some time off from writing, I said. But here I am, having coffee and watching the last sunrise of 2012, and I'm thinking about what I'm going to do next.

To be honest, I already know what I'm going to do next. It's just a matter of deciding if I'm going to go to work on it today or wait until tomorrow -- 2013.

When I visited St. Louis last month, a student at Cleveland High School asked me a very interesting question about writing--one that I'd never been asked before. He wondered if I experienced a "sophomore curse"--the inability to produce a second work after I had gotten my first novel published.

I really haven't had that problem. So far, I've been writing 2 or 3 novels per year, which accounts for the Passenger - Winger - Grasshopper Jungle logjam of novels coming out over a very short period, and for the three or four other completed novels I have on my hard drive that nobody has ever seen (well, my agent has seen one of them... and now he got another one yesterday).

I am so relieved to be finished, just in time to start something new.


Matthew MacNish said...

Don't stop.

Stephanie said...

Congrats! I'll be hitting the send button myself on Wednesday...And my goal for 2013 is to be more productive, because you are insanely so and I want to be you when I grow up.

hellskitchen said...

I'm so glad you're prolific. Thank you. Here's to a healthy, happy, and prosperous 2013 to you, your family, and all your readers.

Your comma torturer,

Andrew Smith said...

Ha ha! You know, I've never minded having commas obliterated for some reason. My first-ever paid job as a teen was writing for my local newspaper. My editor there (a woman named Karen) once told me that I lacked "comma sense."

But this year, 2012, I finally figured out proper formatting of the em-dash, so no more squiggly lines! (I think I improperly formatted them on Grasshopper Jungle, though, so keep the pencil sharp). And, as you know, I will sometimes fight to the death on made-up compound words that I know are made-up words.

Matthew MacNish said...

Just finished Winger. What an awesome book.