As everyone around me knows (which, considering I live alone, consists of me and anything in the fridge that's achieved sentience), I start writing a new book in two and a half days. And I'm nervous as all hell.
It's not just the jitters that come with starting a new project. I've written ten novels, and started several others that I didn't finish, so I'm no stranger to that feeling. It's not just the fear that this book will crash and burn. I've had that happen enough that I can accept it if it happens, even though it sucks every single time. And it's not the feeling that I don't know what I'm doing. No matter how much I write, I'm pretty sure I still don't know what I'm doing, and I wonder if any writer really does.
I've given this a lot of thought over the past few weeks, and I think I've narrowed it down to what's really got the part of my brain that handles the writing (62% of said brain) in a vicious neural twist:
These characters are going to take my plot and run away with it. And nothing I do will prevent that.
I'm a plotter. When I try to write without a plot, the story turns to crap. I have twelve single-spaced pages of plot for this book - not character notes, not setting notes, not random notes from when I first started, just the plot. And I have this unshakeable feeling that once I'm past the first act, none of it will go according to plan, and I'll be left sitting here, staring at my screen, wondering what the hell I'm supposed to do next.
Yes, my characters often do things I don't expect; I think a lot of writers have to deal with this. (Though I did try to explain this concept to my supervisor this morning. People who don't write make the weirdest expressions sometimes.) But usually that happens while I'm writing, and I'm able to pull things back into my planned series of events. I just can't shake the feeling that it won't work that way with this book. And at the same time, I know I could be worrying about nothing, and there's no way to tell until I start writing.
I won't let this stop me. But considering the main cast consists of a musclebound earth mage with a hero complex, a canny teleporting martial artist, a female-identifying adamantine wargolem, a paternal four-eyed goblin, and a piece of a chaos-bound character who's existed in my head since 1998, I know this is going to be a bizarre tale before I even start.
It seems the best I can do is embrace the chaos and see what happens.
Final note: many thanks to y'all for the query letter advice in my last entry. I lopped off the last paragraph and shortened the rest of it as much as I could, and it's a much leaner and (I think) more compelling letter now.
Next entry will either be about being five days into the new book or incomprehensible babble about failure. ^_^