I don’t know how long, on average, a novel takes to write.
The idea and characters for The Winter Passing have been spinning around my head for a long time and I’ve had a couple of false starts but at the end of March the words started coming and this time they didn’t stop.
Ten weeks and 118,000 words later that first story was told. I’ve spent the last few weeks revising and editing, as well as getting feedback from some beta readers. Whatever happens to that novel now – however, whenever it gets published – I am more in love with those characters than ever. I really missed them when I realised that adventure was told, that I had no more words they needed.
But that wasn’t quite right. The first part of their adventure was told but their story is far from done. They still have need of my words about love, loss, music and magic. They want me to tell the tale of the next part of their journey.
So, last week I started to write the first words of book two, chapter one, scene one. The second story from the Morrigan bloodline, the one I’m currently calling The Ides.
I’m a couple of chapters in now, about 12,000 words committed to this tale. I want to talk about it but can’t given barely anyone has read The Winter Passing. My team of beta readers is getting a lot of teasers at the moment, just so I can scratch the itch I have for talking about what’s happening, or might happen, to my characters.
So far though The Ides is dealing with grief, where The Winter Passing dealt with loss. It is about human relationships and their complications where the first book showed the place of nature and the simplicity of instinct. It shows the consequences of the characters actions in the first book and it already has a playlist starting to grow.
I know what is going to happen to these characters in the course of this story but I don’t know whether the words will continue to flow. I have even less idea of whether this story will follow the first out into the wider world. I do know I’m going to keep showing up and writing, writing, writing. I’m going to continue to fall deeper for the now familiar characters with every sentence I write, and that I’m excited by the possibilities some new characters are set to bring.
What I’ve learnt so far? Writing one novel was a surprise, a thrill. The idea of writing a second one seems to require even more courage – it’s not just something wonderful that accidentally happened, it is a commitment to writing that I haven’t dared make until now.